FORT MEADE, Md. -- "The Army has been my life since I was 20 years old," said Dawn P. Bowman, brigade secretary, as she sat poised outside the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade headquarters building and reflected on her 30-year administrative career with the Department of Defense.
Bowman, a 53-year-old, New York-born native that calls Atlanta, Georgia home, began her life-long journey serving the military in 1989, wearing the hat of administrative assistant and Army wife for more than 18 years.
She said the greatest thing she has been able to witness in the Army is change.
"Seeing today's Soldiers versus the Soldiers back then, from the lingo, the transitions, the uniform changes; and I get to have those same conversations with people comparing how it used to be versus how it is now," she said. "The only difference I feel in not being a Soldier myself is that I don't go to PT (physical training) and I don't go to the range. I feel like a Soldier sometimes other than those two things."
While Bowman may not be a Soldier herself, two of her children her son, Army Captain Sirron Bowman and her daughter, Army Staff Sergeant Tenara Bowman are.
To add to her resume, she joined the 704th MI brigade team as a secretary three years ago.
"I love what the mission stands for, I love what we're here for and what we're doing and I just love working with the Army because this is my life and it's been a great experience so far," she said.
Bowman is responsible for the administrative support to Soldiers and leadership, making sure everyone who comes into the brigade command group gets the support they need. She also teaches new Soldiers temporarily working for the brigade all the administrative duties and emphasizes their number one mission, customer service.
"My favorite part of being an admin assistant is customer service, so when someone comes in with a request or a need, that their need is met in a timely matter. Our leadership needs our support because they already have a lot on their plate so anything that I can do to add ease is definitely a satisfaction for me," she said. "It's a good feeling especially when you're getting things done and that they feel that they can depend on you to get things done."
Col. Heidi A. Urban, the commander of the "Electron Recon Brigade" is the second commander Bowman has worked for.
"I'm just thankful that Colonel Urben is shining the spotlight on administrators because sometimes we're so involved with being an assistant that we get overlooked," she said.
Bowman added, "I love what I do, this is my skill set and I'm in it until the end."
One of the things Bowman says that continue to challenge her in the unit is Army acronyms.
"Coming into the organization it's almost like a different language. I was sitting in a meeting one day and all these acronyms were being thrown around and I thought to myself, if someone was to come in here right now they're clueless as to what we're even talking about," she said.
For many Soldiers, Bowman is the heartbeat of the brigade and she said the title makes her want to work harder and be smarter.
Bowman, who celebrated her 53rd birthday this April, said if she could rewrite her story, "I'd write it in the exact same way."
"We've given our children this Army life foundation, to where they're both serving on active duty and I wouldn't have it any other way. If I could rewrite my life, as far as working for the DOD and the Army, I'd write it the same way because the Army way of life, is my life."