Dowling, Francis Ellsworth, SGM

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
22 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Sergeant Major
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
11G50-Infantry Senior Sergeant
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1967-1967, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry
Service Years
1946 - 1967

Sergeant Major

Seven Service Stripes

Four Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

51 kb

Home State
North Dakota
North Dakota
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Trey W. Franklin to remember Dowling, Francis Ellsworth, SGM.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Oct 17, 1967
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Binh Long (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
28E 021

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 2nd Award

 Unit Assignments
3rd Armored Division5th Infantry Division2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry 1st Infantry Division
  1947-1950, 3rd Armored Division
  1964-1966, 00Z, 5th Infantry Division
  1964-1966, 5th Infantry Division/HHC
  1967-1967, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry /HHC
  1967-1967, 1st Infantry Division
  1967-1967, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1951-1951 Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)
  1967-1967 Operation Shenandoah II/Battle of Ong Thanh
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)/Operation Shenandoah II
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Not Specified
A Crusty old Sergeant Major once said that he checked his integrity by always thinking, "If the Chief of Staff of the Army was looking over my shoulder now, would he be proud of what I'm doing?" That was CSM Francis E. Dowling - 2/28 Inf. in Vietnam in 1967.

CSM Dowling was born in North Dakota and he looked the part of a mountain man. He was easily six feet, six inches tall and weighed about 260 pounds, no fat. He was not mean as Sergeant majors go. He was so big people thought he was mean. About ninety-seven percent of the time he had a big smile on his face. He enjoyed being with soldiers. Before coming to the Black Lions as Command Sergeant Major, CSM Dowling had been the CSM of the entire 5th Mechanized Division of Fort Carson, Colorado.

Can you imagine going from Division Command Sergeant Major with over 18,000 men to being a Battalion Sergeant Major with 700 men? Some people would see that as a "come down", but not CSM Francis Dowling. He reveled in the fact that he was Battalion Command Sergeant Major, where the rubber meets the road. He was already aware and familiar with the higher levels of command, where temptations were even greater to cut corners, to accept gifts from suppliers and vendors, as if the high level guy was entitled to "payola" - the slang expression for bribes.

It was easy for a Division Command Sergeant Major to be wined and dined by people who wanted some angle or favor. That same temptation that has always plagued high ranking officers! CSM Francis E. Dowling would have none of that! He always did the RIGHT THING.

On the 17th of October 1967, CSM Dowling was in the jungle at the side of his Battalion Commander, LTC Terry Allen. When the enemy fire was at it's height, CSM Dowling used his huge body to shield his battalion commander, literally throwing himself across LTC Allen's wounded body.

The relief column found CSM Dowling with his arms around LTC Allen, protecting his commander to the last. This giant of a man who was raised in the hills of North Dakota, understood his DUTY! He was a humble man - large in stature, large in heart. No one would ever see CSM Francis Dowling trying to use his size or position for personal gain. He was a man of INTEGRITY. He always did the right thing. On October 17, 1967, Francis Dowling was killed in action protecting his battalion commander. 


You can read about CSM Dowling, LTC Terry Allen and the men they commanded on Oct 17, 1967, in the book "They Marched into Sunlight" by David Maraniss. It tells the story of the "Black Lions of the Big Red One and the events in the ambush that was the last battle of so many good soldiers.
Posted by: Michael Myers

Francis Dowling was the Command Sergeant Major(CSM) of the 2d Bn, 28th Infantry Black Lions, Ist Infantry Division. He was a brave and loyal soldier, tall, handsome and professional. He died next to his Battalion Commander, Terry De La Mesa Allen. He was always at his commander's side. He was a good man with a strong sense of humor and a love of soldiering. I miss him. Jim Shelton BG, USA, (Ret)
Posted by: Jim Shelton

Copyright Inc 2003-2011