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III Marine Expeditionary Force


III Marine Expeditionary Force

Forward, Faithful, Focused

Lieutenant Colonel Donald M. McCowan

Expeditionary Operations Training Group 
Officer In Charge


Lieutenant Colonel Donald M. McCowan

United States Marine Corps


Lieutenant Colonel Donald McCowan graduated from San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  After completion of Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned in January 1999.  He completed Naval Flight training and earned his wings of gold at NAS Pensacola, FL in June 2000, and was designated an AH-1W SuperCobra Attack Helicopter pilot in 2001.


LtCol McCowan first joined Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 (HMLA-267) where he supported Operation IRAQI FREEDOM I in March 2003 while deployed with HMM-161 (REIN), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable (MEU(SOC)) out of San Diego, CA.  Subsequently LtCol McCowan participated in multiple combat deployments to various countries throughout the Middle East and Southern Asia.  In 2004 LtCol McCowan completed the Naval Safety Center Aviation Safety Officer (ASO) Course in Pensacola, FL. In 2006, LtCol McCowan completed the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course in Yuma, AZ.  Throughout his first tour in the Fleet Marine Force his jobs included Schedule Writer and Current Operations Officer, Flightline Officer in Charge, Aviation Safety Officer and Weapons and Tactics Instructor.


Upon completion of his first fleet tour in 2007, LtCol McCowan checked into Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1 (MAWTS-1) in Yuma AZ, where he participated in seven WTI courses to train pilots to be fleet Weapons and Tactics Instructors.  During this tour LtCol McCowan deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on two separate occasions.  While attached to MAWTS-1 LtCol McCowan held the job as the squadron standardization officer.  In 2009, LtCol McCowan participated in the final operational test and evaluation for the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter.


In the fall of 2010 LtCol McCowan returned back to Camp Pendleton where he was the MAWTS-1 liaison to Marine Air Group-39 Tactical Training Unit (MAG-39 TTU) for the transition of AH-1W pilots to the AH-1Z. While supporting MAG-39, LtCol McCowan was identified to be the HMLA Detachment Officer in Charge (HMLA Det OIC) for the 15th MEU.  While attached to the Aviation Command Element (ACE) of the 15th MEU, LtCol McCowan performed the duties as Squadron Operations Officer.  Post deployment, LtCol McCowan once again returned to the HMLA community and supported HMLA-267 as the squadron operations officer until June 2014.


In July 2014, LtCol McCowan reported to Chief of Naval Operations Air Warfare Division (N98) as the H-1 Resource Officer, in Washington, DC.  While at N98, he participated in three annual budget cycles working closely with Headquarters Marine Corps Aviation, supporting the funding requirements for the H-1 Upgrades community.  During this time LtCol McCowan completed the Executive Masters of Business Administration (EMBA) degree offered through the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey.


In May 2017, LtCol McCowan arrived in Okinawa Japan and immediately took command of Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1.  Upon completion of Command in June 2019, LtCol McCowan received orders to III Marine Expeditionary Force, Expeditionary Operations Training Group.


During his career, LtCol McCowan has accumulated over 3,000 flight hours including over 1,000 night vision device hours.  His military awards include Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal gold star in lieu of third award, ten Strike Flight Air Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various unit awards.