Michael S. McDowell The Soldiers ProjectMichael S. McDowell
Executive Director

Michael S. McDowell currently serves as the Executive Director of The Soldiers Project. Before this, he served as the Associate Director for Administration and Chief Operations Officer at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at USC, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the clinic. He joined the University of Southern California in 2016, after serving 16 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he retired having achieved the rank of Major.

During his military career, McDowell held numerous leadership positions, including platoon, company, and battalion-sized units as a field artillery officer. He also supported combat operations and led on-ground efforts to rebuild infrastructure and establish government services for Afghanistan’s civilian population as a Civil Affairs officer. McDowell was also integral in the planning and restructuring of the world-famous “Crucible” training event, a mandatory multi-day test that each Marine recruit must complete. McDowell completed four combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, and two to Southeast Asia as a member of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

McDowell has received numerous commendations for his service and valor in combat, including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and six Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals. He is a published author in the Marine Corps Gazette in subjects ranging from fire support targeting and planning, to successfully leading civil affairs teams during combat operations. McDowell received his Master of Business Administration from the USC Marshall School of Business (2015) emphasizing strategic planning and organizational leadership, and a Master of Education from Montana State University-Billings (1994).

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