Mar. 23, 2003 — Nasiriyah, Iraq
Army Master Sgt Dowdy was assigned to 507th Maintenance Company, Fort Bliss, Texas. He was killed when his convoy was ambushed in Iraq and was one of eight soldiers found dead during the rescue of Pfc Jessica Lynch. Robert enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from Cleveland South High School in Cleveland, Ohio in 1982. He served on bases in Korea and across the U.S. and had such fond memories of his first Army assignment in Fort Polk, Louisiana, that he and his wife had bought a house near the base where he planned to retire. Many of his soldiers considered him an old-timer but they got a shock when he could run circles around most of them in his outfit. He was an avid distance runner and last year ran a 10K race in 41 minutes, 21 seconds. Robert was dedicated to the military but the biggest joy in his life was his teenage daughter. He was very patriotic and very loyal – he just wanted to serve his country to the best of ability before he retired which would have been in two years. Robert prepared his family for the possibility that he might not return.
NOTE: The Army released a report on the ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company in Iraq that showed Pfc. Jessica Lynch and another female soldier suffered extensive injuries in a vehicle accident, but not from Iraqi fighters. The report also showed that the company's senior enlisted soldier, 1st Sgt. Robert Dowdy, worked furiously to reorganize the 507th 13-vehicle convoy so it could make a retreat. Traveling in Pfc. Piestewa's Humvee, Sgt. Dowdy stopped, got out of the vehicle and tried to motivate other soldiers. Two soldiers whose truck was disabled got into the Humvee with Sgt. Dowdy and the two female soldiers. "This was a fight," a Pentagon source said. "They got popped at different locations. There were battles. They were fighting back." The Humvee sped away from the scene and likely was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. Sgt. Dowdy was killed instantly.