1stSgt Downing enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2002 and upon completion of training was assigned to Weapons Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines as a 0331 machine gunner.
Shortly after checking into the Battalion, Lance Corporal Downing was deployed to Kuwait and In March of 2003, crossed the line of departure into Iraq during the initial invasion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lance Corporal Downing would take part in several combat engagements fighting against the Iraqi army as well as their elite Republican Guard and Fedayeen forces from Al-Nasiriyah to Baghdad. In 2004 Lance Corporal Downing returned to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), serving as a machine gun squad leader. In August 2004, Lance Corporal Downing led a squad of machine gunners in an intense three day long battle against Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Mahdi army in the Najaf cemetery. For his actions, Lance Corporal Downing was subsequently awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with combat distinguishing device and would later be promoted to the rank of Corporal.
Following the return from a second combat tour in Iraq, Corporal Downing checked into Headquarters Battery, 11th Marines and served as the Substance Abuse Control Officer (SACO) for approximately one year. Before leaving active duty in June 2006, Corporal Downing would be promoted to the rank of Sergeant. In January 2007, then Sergeant Downing checked into Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23d Marines serving as the machine gun section leader. In April of 2008, Sergeant Downing was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. In 2011, Staff Sergeant Downing deployed with the battalion to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as the Platoon Sergeant of 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23d Marines. While conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, 2nd Platoon was responsible for seizing over two tons of illegal narcotics from the Taliban during aerial interdiction missions and participated in several multi-battalion operations
during the course of the deployment.
Following his return from combat operations in Afghanistan, SSgt Downing would be promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant in September 2012. GySgt Downing would act as the Company Gunnery Sergeant of Bravo Company, until 2014 when he was sent to Alpha Company to serve as the Company First Sergeant for approximately one year. In April 2018, GySgt Downing was promoted to rank of First Sergeant and would go on to serve as the Company First Sergeant of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23d
Marines until July, 2021.
In present day, 1stSgt Downing serves as the Company first sergeant of Anti-Tank Training Company, 25th Marine Regiment in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. First Sergeant Downing’s personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with combat distinguishing device and two gold stars, Good Conduct Medal, Selective Marine Corps Reserve Medal and the combat action ribbon.