Charles W. “Skip” Bowen – 10th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (RETIRED)
Skip Bowen became the tenth Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) on June 14, 2006, and served until May 21, 2010. Bowen spent the first eight years of his life in the small fishing town of Fortescue, New Jersey, before moving with his family to Florida. The family spent several years in Fort Pierce and then settled in Sebastian for Bowen’s last year of high school.
After attending basic training in 1978 at Coast Guard Recruit Training Center Cape May, New Jersey, his first duty station was to a patrol boat, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Point Swift in Clearwater, Florida. In 1980, Bowen was assigned to Coast Guard Station Marathon in the Florida Keys just in time for the Mariel boatlift, a six-month mass emigration of Cuban refugees to U.S. shores. A subsequent assignment at Station Fort Pierce, Florida, was followed by another patrol boat, the newly commissioned U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Farallon, out of Miami.
Bowen then joined the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Point Arena in the mid-Atlantic seaboard as the executive petty officer. Upon advancing to chief petty officer (CPO), Bowen was assigned as the officer in charge (OIC) of Station New Haven, Connecticut, in June 1990. He was transferred to Station Sand Key in Clearwater Beach, Florida, in 1994. In 1997, Bowen was assigned as the OIC of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Point Turner in Newport, Rhode Island, until her decommissioning in April 1998. He was then assigned as the OIC of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hammerhead based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the first of the high-tech 87-foot patrol boats on the East Coast.
From 1999 to 2001, Bowen served as the District Seven command master chief (CMC). In May 2002, he graduated with distinction from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. While at the Academy, he was selected as one of the few non-Army students ever to serve as a class vice president, and was awarded the prestigious William G. Bainbridge Chair of Ethics Award.
From June 2002 to June 2004, Bowen served as CMC of the Headquarters units. In addition to those duties, he also served as the interim MCPOCG July–October 2002. In 2004, he was assigned as the OIC of Coast Guard Station Marathon in the Florida Keys, where he was responsible for search and rescue and enforcement of federal maritime laws and regulations for a third of the Florida Keys.
Bowen received a Bachelor of Science degree, magna cum laude, from Excelsior College in Albany, New York, and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), summa cum laude, from Touro University International in California. His personal awards include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, four Meritorious Service Medals with “O” device, four Coast Guard Commendation Medals with “O” device, three Coast Guard Achievement Medals with “O” device, Commandant’s Letter of Commendation, six Meritorious Team Commendation Awards with “O” device, two Coast Guard Unit Commendations with “O” device, seven Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations with “O” device, and the Coast Guard Sea Service Ribbon with two stars.
Bowen’s first position post-retirement was as a senior program manager with CACI, a company in Fairfax, Virginia, that provides information solutions in support of national security missions. During his time at CACI, he received his Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification. In April 2011, Bowen began working at Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, Louisiana, as the project manager of the Fast-Response Cutter program. The following year, he was promoted to vice president for government relations.
Since his military retirement, Bowen has served on the board or advisory council of several organizations affiliated with the military, including the Armed Forces Retirement Home, First Command Financial Services, Broward Navy Days, and Mission Readiness. He has served as co-chair of the Commandant of the Coast Guard’s National Retiree Council and is currently the president of the Association for Rescue at Sea. He also works with Veterans United Home Loans as a military advisor.
Bowen and his wife, Janet, have four children and live in Sebastian, Florida.