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From RDFRA: Obituary

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  • From RDFRA: Obituary

    I hope the original author will forgive me if I copy this fine tribute to a deceased member from the RDFRA site to this site. It speaks for itself.Its a familiar tale to many of us,though the names may have changed. My sympathy to those in the west who knew this man.

    ROSCOMMON COY. F.C.A. Say a final farewell - To a loyal and committed soldier. The presence of over 150 uniformed members of the Defense Forces at the recent funeral of our colleague and friend, Company Sergeant John Dowd, bears testomy to the high regard and esteem with which he was held not just in Roscommon Coy. FCA but throughout the area of the 16 Inf. Bn. His involvement in the Reserve Defense Forces Representative Association brought colleagues from the Southern, Eastern, Curragh and Western Command areas. His funeral was both a celebration of and a tribute to the total professionalism, commitment and dedication with which he approached his FCA involvement that began back in 1971. John first joined the FCA in 1971 and quickly developed a keen interest in all FCA activities. His interest and initial commitment was rewarded in 1974 when he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. This brought him on to the first rung of a promotional ladder, which saw him, progress to become Company Sergeant (the highest Non Commissioned Officer rank at company level) of Roscommon Coy. FCA. Over the years, John's dedication and commitment, if anything, seemed to increase. He was literally involved in all areas of activity, not only at local level but also at Bn. and command level. While locally his public exposure was limited to our Annual Church, Easter and other ceremonial occasions, within the FCA he was the mainstay of many and varied military activities including the preparing and training of future NCO's on Command Courses. His expertise was very much in demand whether for individual categories of training or specific events. This was true to such an extent that a recent Unit Commander commented, following a request for the nomination of a good Senior NCO for a particular task, "and please don't say C/S John Dowd, again" Over the past number of years John took a special interest and responsibility for recruiting in our local area and also spearheaded the training of recruits at both local and Bn. level. He was a familiar figure in the Second Level Schools in Roscommon on our annual recruiting drive at the beginning of September. At local level it was John who invariably was responsible for giving the new recruits their first introduction to military life - to have respect for and wear the uniform properly and proudly. His voice could be heard, ringing out from our Company Hq. on the Circular Rd., each Thursday night, as he endeavored to teach a new bunch of recruits the basics of foot drill etc. At Bn. level he continued this involvement with new members from Athlone, Ballinasloe and Tullamore companies as the Chief/Senior instructor at weekend and annual camps. It was here that John's special instructional, motivational and leadership talents came to the fore. While deemed to be a hard task master, who demanded of ones best, he also, away from the parade ground and classroom, displayed an ability to communicate on an individual basis with his mostly young charges. He knew each on a personal level and was always available to help sort out individual problems whether big or small. Many a recruits' enjoyment of Camp was enhanced by a "Sub" from the C/S, when funds were low or had disappeared altogether. The large number of unnoticed ex members who attended at John's funeral demonstrated that his endeavors were indeed appreciated. It was this ability to understand the needs of members in relation to and in addition to the requirements of the organization as a whole, which made John such an able representative and spokesman in his role within the representative association. John served on the Western Command Committee and attended as delegate at national meetings. He was noted for his ability "to cut to the chase" He was able to instantly home in on the relevant and pertinent with regards to all issues and was always a champion of the needs of members in general. The high regard in which he was held by his colleagues in the representative association was evident in their turn out at his funeral. Every member of the Western Command Committee was in attendance. In addition Kevin O Connor, National President of RDFRA, Frank Purcell, Ex. National President, Martin Lenihan, National Administrator, Grainne Kelly, Cahal Clarke, John Byrne, and Gerry Enright members of the National Executative were also in attendance. In attendance also was Comdt. J. Picard, OC 16 Inf. Bn. FCA, Comdt. J.P. Quinn, OC "A" Coy., 16 Inf. Bn., Comdt. J. Diskin, OC, "B" Coy., 16 Inf. Bn., Comdt. P.J. Whyte, OC, "C" Coy. 16 Inf. Bn. Capt. T. Rattigan, (Ret.) Former Coy. Commander Roscommon FCA. As well as PDF members from throughout the Bn. area. Members of Roscommon FCA provided a Guard of Honour and Escort as John's remains were taken from the funeral home to the Church of The Sacred Heart on the Saturday evening. At the Funeral Mass members were involved in the Liturgy of the Mass - Readings: Lt. C. Molloy and Cpl. S. Leech. Prayers of the Faithful: Sgt. P. Tigh and Sgt. P. Macklin. Offertory Gifts: Cpl. D. Mc Govern, Cpl. P. Fullam, Pte. M. Tarpey and Pte. K. Mulryan. On arrival at St. Comans Cemetery the cortège passed through an Honour Guard, of over 100 members, with heads bowed, lining both sides of the roadway into the grave yard while a Piper from 6 Inf. Bn. Pipe Band played a lament. Prior to the lowering of the coffin, a Flag Party consisting of fellow colleagues, from Roscommon FCA, CQMS P. Nolan, NCO IC, Sgt, S. Brennan, Sgt. T. Heneghan, Sgt. E. Hand, Sgt. D. Donlon, Cpl. D. Briody, Cpl. A. Coyle, Cpl. S. Coleman and Cpl. P. Mc Donald performed a Flag Drill, removing the Flag, presented it to Capt. B. Molloy who presented it to John's wife Margaret. As the coffin was lowered into the grave a Firing Party of 16 Inf. Bn. FCA members fired a volley of shots and a Bugler and Drummer from the Band of the 4th Western Brigade sounded "The Last Post". In his homily during the funeral Mass Fr. C. Mc Hugh alluded to John's acceptance of his illness and his matter of fact approach to it's inevitable consequences. Quoting John's comments "You have to play the hand your dealt" This indeed typified John's pragmatic approach to life and also to his FCA involvement. If there was difficulties to be overcome John got on with the job despite the constraints, used what recourses were available to the best of his ability and that was what made him an excellent leader. His commitment, dedication and most of all his enthusiasism for the job at hand made him an example for his fellow NCO's. His infectious enthusiasm, for all things military, kindled an interest in his subordinates which they will carry and cherish into the future. To Brigadier General F. Swords, GOC, 4 W BDE, for his support, Capt. Barry Molloy, OIC all Ceremonial on the day, our thanks. To all who participated or helped in any way, our thanks and to those many retired and ex members who turned out to pay their respects a thank you. John will be sadly missed by his colleagues in the FCA but by none more so than by his wife Margaret and son Niall and all family members, to whom we offer our sincerest sympathy on his untimely passing. Ar dheis De go raibh a ainim dilis.
    Michael Kelly

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.