TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The commanding officer of the U.S. aircraft carrier that shot down an Iranian military drone in the Strait of Hormuz landed in Tyler on Tuesday morning.
U.S. Navy Capt. Ron Dowdell, of Tyler, landed at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport after commanding the USS Boxer for more than a year.
Dowdell’s wife and son were waiting for him when he landed.
Wife Dawn said even though this isn’t her husband’s first deployment, it’s never easy to deal with his absence.
“I’m a salt and pepper seasoned Navy spouse so I’ve done this several times, but it really never gets easier for families. Now that he’s you know a teenager, there are responsibilities that I can’t take care of like shaving and teaching him how to drive and those kinds of things,” she said. “Football is all beyond me so we just miss him so much."
Son Robby plays middle linebacker for the 8th-grade team at Bishop Gorman High School, and dad says he’s looking forward to seeing him play.
And Robby is ready to show his dad what he can do on the field.
“Last year, he saw me once play football, and we got killed. It was not good,” Robby said as his mom laughed. “Hopefully, this year it’s better.”
Dowdell was named the USS Boxer’s commanding officer on July 19, 2018. He was relieved of that post during a change of command ceremony held Sunday, according to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service’s website.
Earlier this year, the USS Boxer shot down the Iranian drone in what President Donald Trump said was a “defense action” after the drone was “threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew."
“As a commanding officer, I’m responsible for the entire ship. We had a few thousand sailors and marines attached to the USS Boxer, which is, in essence, an aircraft carrier for the marine corps,” Dowdell said. “President Trump said it probably better than I could. I will say I was really thankful to have the opportunity to respond when it was our turn, and I was really proud of our sailors and marines that stepped up to the plate and did the right thing when the moment called for it.”
Now he’ll spend the next few weeks catching up on all he’s missed at home.
“I just can’t tell you how wonderful it is to transition from being a captain to father and husband again for the first time in a long time,” Dowdell said. “It’s great to be home.”