Protect and Serve, from Iraq to Plant


Molly Gittleman

Plant High School Resource Officer Scott Bowman poses in front of the school. This is Bowman’s first year at Plant High, having formerly served in Iraq as a Dignitary Protection Agent and in Hillsborough County as a police officer.

Ava Satterfield, Print Editor-In-Chief

Protecting is second nature for Plant High Resource Officer Scott Bowman.   

Before coming to Plant High School, Bowman served in Iraq as a Dignitary Protection agent, guarding high profile officials during the Iraq War. He protected John Mccain and Arnold Schwarzenegger amid their visits to Iraq.   

“When I was doing Dignitary Protection and protecting senators and people with the state department, we believed in the mission,” Bowman said. “We were trying to develop a good relationship with that country and provide them with whatever we could. And we provided protection inside the warzone.”   

Dignitary Protection is a part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, a security branch of the United States Department of State. Dignitary Protection agents are responsible for the safeguarding and escorting of government officials and foreign dignitaries. Prior to working in Dignitary Protection, Bowman was a sniper on the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) in another department. This experience and additional special training qualified him to work in Dignitary Protection.    

“The training was three weeks of learning how to what we call ‘walk the diamond’,” Bowman said. “Any time you see people being protected, the diamond is literally a reference to the four spots around that person. They [the bodyguards] constantly move and stay in that diamond as a person is walking to wherever they’re walking or traveling to wherever they’re traveling.”  

After training, Bowman was deployed to Iraq in 2009, where he served on and off for three years. Bowman said that while he was conscious of the dangers of a warzone, he was not in constant fear.   

“There’s always a chance you will get seriously injured or killed because it’s a warzone,” Bowman said. “But you’re trained well enough, you have good equipment, and the people around you are like-minded and are going to respond the best way we’ve been trained. So as far as the actual was I in fear every day? No. But do you think about it? Yes.”   

While in Iraq, Bowman worked on the counter assault team with Dignitary Protection. If the dignitary was attacked, Dignitary Protection agents would use their bodies to cover the person and then evacuate them out of the area. Meanwhile, Bowman’s team would go after the party who attacked the dignitary.  

“My team, we were called counter assault,” Bowman said. “Our job as counter assault is whoever’s trying to attack the dignitary, we attack those people.”  

After three years serving in Iraq, Bowman decided to come back to his home state of Florida. He returned to work in law enforcement.   

“I was a police officer before I left for Iraq, and I always wanted to return to law enforcement eventually, so after three years, I decided it was time to come home,” Bowman said.   

This is Officer Bowman’s first year at Plant High School. While working as a Hillsborough County Police Officer, Bowman was asked to be the Plant Resource Officer, and he gladly accepted.  

“I couldn’t be more thankful to be here,” Bowman said. “This has been a great opportunity.”  

Junior Kara Hubbard is appreciative of Bowman and feels safer at school with him on campus.   

“Having both of my parents serve in the military, I feel much safer and secure with Officer Bowman,” Hubbard said. “With him at our school, I feel a sense of protection that I didn’t before. I value and respect all of the work Officer Bowman has done for our country and now our school.”   

As a Dignitary Protection agent and a high school resource officer, Bowman has worked towards a common mission: safety.   

“I look at the mission of the school, which is to make sure that all the students get a good education, and that can’t happen without proper safety to begin with,” Bowman said. “My mission is to make sure that you all are safe.”