That’s when she wrote an essay in her fourth-grade class, making the point that all Americans should cherish and protect their freedoms and be willing to serve their country.
Her role model, then and now, was her grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel John Aloysius (Jack) Dowd, USMC, who was killed August 13, 1969, while leading his 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment in pursuit of North Vietnamese forces.
Dowd was survived by his wife Barbara and their six children, including Kiersten’s mother Margie. For his courage, honor and commitment, Colonel Dowd was awarded the Navy Cross, Purple Heart and Legion of Merit posthumously. The Navy Cross is the highest award given for extraordinary heroism after the Medal of Honor.
Kiersten’s dream was finally fulfilled recently when she graduated from the University of Nebraska and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
Indeed, she became a Marine officer 56 years to the day that her grandfather was commissioned. Kiersten was sworn in by her father, retired Navy Captain Daven L. (Dave) Madsen, who served 27 years, piloted F-14s and was in charge of the Navy’s largest test squadron at Point Mugu, California.
After the swearing in, Captain Madsen gave a short talk, mentioning his daughter’s determination to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps in serving the country as a Marine and using her leadership talents.
The Madsen family lives in Annandale, Virginia, not far from Woodbridge, where Jack and Barbara Dowd raised their family. Barbara still lives there and is active in the Lieutenant Colonel John A. Dowd Division of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Jack Dowd was honored as a “genuine American hero” by members of the Virginia Ancient Order of Hibernians during their recent state convention in Stafford. The Dowd tribute was held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico.
As is the case with the ladies division, the Woodbridge division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is named the Lieutenant John A. Dowd Division.