Cowdin was a surprisingly old member of the Lafayette Escradrille. He would have been about 31 years old at the time this photograph was taken which, while not elderly, was beyond youth, especially in this era. By the war's end he had served in the French, British, and American air arms, although all of his combat victories came early in his service when he was serving with the French. A member of society, at the time of this photograph he would have been returning to the United States due to an inheritance.
He survived the Great War and was credited with downing three German aircraft during the war. He died of cancer in Florida in 1933.