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Joe Dowdy
Allegiance United States
Service/branch USMC logo United States Marine Corps
Years of service September 1979 - May 2004
Rank US-O6 insignia Colonel
Commands held 1st Marine Regiment
Battles/wars Beirut (1982), Somalia (1993), Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003)
Other work NASA

Colonel Joe D. Dowdy, was the commanding officer of the Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1) during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He led his unit to within 130 km of Baghdad before being relieved of command on April 4, 2003 by Major General James Mattis, the commanding officer of the 1st Marine Division.[1] He was replaced by Colonel John Toolan then chief of staff for the Division. According to the spokesman for the 1st Marine Division at the time, Lieutenant Eric Knapp, Colonel Dowdy's removal "...was a decision based on operating tempo." This decision was controversial to many in Marine Corps and the Department of Defense. Dowdy is now the Special Operations Manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.[2]

In popular cultureEdit

The replacement of Colonel Dowdy and his role in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq was referenced in the episode "Stay Frosty" of the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. The episode highlights the discontent within the Marine Corps over the decision, most notably amongst its officers.


  1. Ricks, Thomas E. (April 5, 2003). "Key Marine Commander Is Removed; No Explanation Given for Decision". Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  2. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Kennedy Biographies: Joe Dowdy, February 24, 2008. Assessed December 03, 2008.

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