Director, Office of Veterans Affairs
In 2009, Mr. Verdie Bowen was appointed as Director of the Office of Veterans Affairs by former Governor Sarah Palin. As Director, Mr. Bowen is responsible for the development and establishment of polices and strategic plans that directly affect over 230,000 Alaskans including all Alaska veterans, active duty, reserve components, dependents, and survivors living in the states 348 communities. Recently, Mr. Bowen served nationally as the 70th President of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs. In this position he provided key testimony for five major pieces of legislation; the most critical being the Veterans Affairs (VA) Modernization Act of 2017 and the VA Mission Act of 2018.
Since his appointment, Mr. Bowen has traveled to over 265 communities in Alaska. He has provided critical testimony to the US Senate on rural healthcare and helped as a member of the 13th working group to facilitate the establishment of a memorandum of agreement between Alaska Tribal Health Agencies and the Federal VA allowing veterans to receive healthcare in villages all across Alaska. Mr. Bowen served on the Department of Veterans Affairs Rural Health Advisory committee from 2013 to 2017. He has also provided guidance and testimony to the Alaska State Legislator on several local veteran’s issues. To date he has provided guidance on the following passed legislation:
- Purple Heart Day and Purple Heart License Plates,
- Free instate tuition for spouses and dependents of fallen service members,
- establishment of a new Veterans Affairs Office in Anchorage,
- and the establishment of Veterans Status on state driver’s license and identification cards.
Currently he is working on the development of a new state veteran’s cemetery in Fairbanks and the establishment of a DoD/VA/Alaskan software platform assisting veterans with earned benefits.
As a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Bowen began his military career in 1981 serving in several units as a Communications Specialist. His major assignments included the following units:
- 366th TFW
- 1879th CS
- Detachment 7 2003 CG
- 2007th CS
- 7241st CS
- 3rd CS
- 5th ATAF
- Defense Information Systems Agency
During his service, he supported the research and development of long-range communications pertaining to the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). He managed the deployment of the Defense Mediterranean Improvement Satellite Program. He installed the first Alaskan bandwidth management network. Finally, he designed and installed UN and NATO telephone systems connecting commercial air traffic control towers in the old Czech Republic which allowed commercial air traffic back into this theater of operations.
Mr. Bowen holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems from Bellevue University in Nebraska. He is married to Catherine Bowen and they have four sons and four grandchildren.