More detail on this person: Lt. Col. Arthur Cleveland (Cleve) Bowdoin, US Army (Retired) passed away on Thursday, July 27, 2017 in Stuart, Florida. He was 86. Cleve was born on June 23, 1931 in Comanche, Texas, the second child of Lula Bessie Kingston Bowdoin and Paul Henry Bowdoin. With siblings Paul, Nita Beth, and Marshall Dean, he spent his youth in Mont Belvieu, Texas, growing up among oil fields and cattle ranches. He attended Barber's Hill High School, and was active in the 4-H Club. In his sophomore year he raised a steer, Esso Extra, that placed at the 1947 Houston Fat Stock Show. Following high school, Cleve entered the cadet corps at Texas A&M College. He graduated in 1953, earning a degree in animal husbandry, then entered the US Army as a second lieutenant. He married Billye Marie Moss during his senior year and together they raised four children. The marriage ended in divorce after 19 years. Cleve's Army career spanned 24 years and many of his early years were spent attending flight school. He was trained as a helicopter pilot first, then later as a fixed-wing pilot. He trained at Gary Air Force Base (Texas), Ft. Sill (Oklahoma), Ft. Benning (Georgia) and Ft. Rucker (Alabama). Ultimately, he achieved the highest degree as an Army Master Aviator. He flew a variety of helicopters including the Bell HU-1 "Huey", Boeing CH-47 Chinook, and Sikorsky models H-13, H- 34 and H-37. He also flew L-19 and L-20 Cessnas, and the Grumman OV-1 Mohawk. He received many military service medals, including the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone. Cleve's expertise was in aviation transportation and maintenance. One of his early assignments was serving with the 8178th AU (Army Unit Aviation Maintenance Heavy) with the 8th Army (Ascom City, Korea). Returning stateside he was stationed at Ft. Benning with the 4th Transportation Company, and later held a command position with its 152nd Detachment based at Fliegerhorst Army Airfield (Hanau, Germany). He also commanded the 593rd Transportation Detachment during a second tour in Korea and, in Vietnam, he lead the 608th Trans. Company at Dong Ba Thin. Other leadership posts included Army Aviation Material Laboratories (Ft. Eustis, Virginia), Grumman Aerospace (Stuart, Florida), Army Aviation Material Command (St. Louis, Misssouri), and Isfahan Air Force Base (Iran). Upon retirement in 1977, he was a consultant with Bell Helicopter Labs in Ft. Worth, Texas. Cleve met his second wife, Cynthia Sameck , while stationed with Grumman in Stuart, Florida. They have had a home there since 1984. In addition to bowling, working in his garage, and travel, Cleve never missed the annual reunion of the 4th/52nd Transportation Corps. He served as their archivist and historian for over 25 years, and his carefully assembled scrapbooks were a labor of love. Cleve was a do-it-yourself guy, always happiest with a project, especially rebuilding a car. His idea of fun was rummaging for car parts at an auto salvage yard. He gave each of his children a restored Chevy Camaro upon high school graduation. His love of cars translated to long road trips. He loved to drive, often spending four days en route for a one-day visit. He was a man who knew how to read a road map and find the cheapest gas. Cleve had a great love of family, never missing a chance to attend a family gathering, even as his health failed. Special occasions were always acknowledged with a card in the mail, and his grandchildren were especially favored, and impressed, by his gifts of US Savings Bonds. He was a proud Aggie alumnus and his memory will be honored at the next annual Aggie Muster with the Roll Call for the Absent. Although none of his children attend A&M, he was a proud Aggie Grandpa and a reluctant (though proud) Longhorn Dad. When you eat home-made vanilla ice cream, peanut brittle or ribbon cane syrup, think of Cleve. He will be missed. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Cynthia Sameck Bowdoin; his four children Vickie Bilisoly, Ronny Bowdoin, Mark Bowdoin and Scott Bowdoin; grandchildren Christopher, Rebecca, Anica, Rachel, Jessica and Frank; and great grandchildren Carter, Hadley, Tucker and Everett. He is also survived by his sister Nita Beth Bowdoin Thornton and an extended family in Texas. A memorial gathering and interment will be held at a later date in his home state of Texas.
This information was last updated 09/28/2017
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 04/14/2021
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association