In order to “beef up academically as well as physically,” Rear Admiral Daniel Bowler PG ’66 attended Andover as a Post-Graduate during the 1965-1966 academic year. Though Bowler went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in naval engineering and a master’s degree in international relations, he says that the American History course he took at Andover was the hardest class he’s ever taken.
On Thursday, November 8, Bowler spoke at the ninth annual Veterans Day Dinner, an event hosted by the Andover and the Military Committee to honor United States veterans. Jason DiNapoli ’19, member of the “Andover and the Military” initiative, noted the significance of the event for veterans and non-veterans alike.
“This is an important event to connect with alumni and members of Andover who have served or are currently serving in the military. I think it’s an amazing opportunity to have these alumni come back to campus to talk about their experience in the military and how it shaped them, and how it has truly made a difference. Andover has a very rich history with the military, and I think it’s an honor to be a part of Andover,” said DiNapoli.
Bowler said that his time at Andover greatly impacted his work ethic, as a student and beyond. He believes that Andover taught him how to study, built character, and shaped his values.
“I think the experiences I had here in the classroom, on the athletic field, in the chapel — the whole culture — the school really beefed up my foundation to allow me to achieve success, both in college and later on,” said Bowler.
Bowler continued, “If I made a mistake, you know, don’t run from it — stand up, admit it. If the nature of the mistake is that you’re going to be held accountable to some degree, take it. Pride heals in thirty minutes. Move onto the next event.”
Bowler served in the United States Navy for several years and has gone on nine full sea tours in addition to his service in the Vietnam War. Bowler also held three different commands on three warships: a destroyer, a cruiser, and a battlegroup.
Bowler explained how his time commanding Navy ships taught him about friendship through the lens of leadership.
“It’s your ability and what you learn, and how you can serve the people that work with you and the people that have followed you, have followed your guidance, your goals, your vision and so forth. I would say the fondest memories I’ve had in the Navy are the friendships I’ve made and the people I’ve worked with, and your ability to work together as a team to achieve a common objective,” said Bowler.
Bowler further emphasized the camaraderie we witnessed among veterans. According to Bowler, this relationship strengthens his community and develops a trust and kinship between fellow veterans.
“What binds our veterans not only is a devotion to country, but what really binds them is a devotion to their fellow sailor, airman, marine, soldier standing next to them on the battlefield. It’s a love for the fellow guy in their unit that really marks the soldiers and those who serve in the military both now and in the past,” said Bowler.
At the dinner, members of the Adopt a Platoon community engagement program gave ceremonial pins to several veterans in recognition of their service to the United States. Suzanne Kalkstein ’19 felt it was a powerful experience to honor some of the nation’s veterans.
“I kind of went into this day really excited to meet them… It was really heartwarming to bond with someone that’s done that much for our country, and [Bowler] was just such a sweet man. It was kind of like a personal connection experience. I think it’s really incredible. I think serving is the most selfless thing you can do,” said Kalkstein.