OTF Soldier Story for May 17, 2010 - Spc. Devin Fowler
Current Unit: 751st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
Current Position: Food Service Specialist
Component: South Carolina National Guard
Current Location: Columbia, S.C.
Hometown: Clinton, S.C.
Years of Service: 3
For the Fowler family, it truly is ‘like father, like son.’ Seeing his father, Staff Sgt. Hugh Fowler, serve in the South Carolina National Guard for as long as Devin can remember, inspired him to serve in uniform as well. So when he learned that his father would be deploying overseas, he volunteered for a spot in the same unit. The duo served in Iraq together last year and they returned home in February, closer than ever.
“I grew up knowing nothing but the Army,” said Devin, who is now a specialist in the Army. “But I also knew from when I was very young that this is what I wanted too,” said Fowler, who participated in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Clinton High School and enlisted in the Army a month before he graduated.
When the younger Fowler learned his father’s unit would be deploying, he volunteered to go overseas with him.
“My father was getting deployed, so I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to serve my country overseas. If my father wasn’t supposed to be deployed, I wouldn’t be here now,” he said.
While deployed to al-Asad, Iraq from February 2009 to February 2010, Fowler served with the South Carolina National Guard’s 751st Combat Support Sustainment Battalion. He worked as an intelligence analyst and was responsible for monitoring the convoys that brought food and supplies to the forward operating bases throughout the country.
Although not every Soldier is fortunate enough to deploy alongside a family member, Fowler said it made the experience much easier for him.
He also recognizes the personal growth his military service has encouraged.
“Joining the military changed me in a lot of ways. I had to grow up really fast because there isn’t any room for kid games or immaturity in the military,” he said. “Especially when you deploy, it is even more serious—you have lives on the line. You have to be a grown-up in this business.”
Right alongside of him, his wife, Brittney Fowler, is growing up too. Also a Soldier in the South Carolina National Guard, the couple met after his father introduced them. During his deployment last year, Fowler was able to come home on leave for the birth of their daughter, Addison.
“Through very strategic planning with her doctor, I got home three days before my daughter was born and was able to spend two weeks at home,” he said. “But it was very hard to leave them. My wife is young too, and I knew there would be a lot of challenges she had to face on her own. I wanted to be there for my family.”
Fowler returned home to Columbia, S.C., last February and was happily reunited with his wife and young daughter. He continues to serve with the 751st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Eastover, S.C., and works at the South Carolina National Guard’s local Unit Training Equipment Site, where many of the tanks and equipment are stored and repaired. In the future, he hopes to remain a full-time Soldier with the South Carolina National Guard, just as his own father has done for more than two decades.
Recognizing that their time overseas made their bond even stronger, Fowler is pleased with his decision to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“My dad and I are very close, and I think my life shows that. My career and my new family are both because of him,” he said. “I point my finger at him and tell him, ‘This is all because of you.’ But I know it is a good thing.”