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Joseph Bowman is one of the player's allies during Call of Duty: Black Ops. He fights alongside Alex Mason and Frank Woods, with his first appearance being the opening mission, 'Operation 40'. In this mission, Bowman works to help in the failed assassination of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Bowman does not appear in the game for some time, appearing during 'Operation Flashpoint' in Baikonur, helping to destroy the Soviet missile program and the test rockets in the area. By 1968, Bowman is a part of the Studies and Observations ( SOG) group in Vietnam. From here, he fights alongside the player and Frank Woods, until the team are captured later on.
After being captured, Bowman loses his mind when he is forced to play Russian Roulette by a Spetsnaz operative working alongside the Vietcong. He challenges the operative, knowing that it would result in his own death. It is highly implied that Bowman did this with the intent of being killed, since dialogue states that he had "given up" on everything.
Bowman is the first member of the SOG team to be killed, and after this both Woods and Mason fight their way out of captivity in order to wreak havoc and exact revenge for Bowman's killing. Bowman is voiced by actor and rapper Ice Cube.