Vining, Mike, SGM

Infantry (Enlisted)
 TWS Ribbon Bar
Life Member
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USA Retired
Current/Last Rank
Sergeant Major
Current/Last Service Branch
Current/Last Primary MOS
11Z50-Infantry Senior Sergeant
Current/Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1992-1999, 11Z50, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
Previously Held MOS
55C-Ammunition Maintenance Specialist
55D-Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist
Service Years
1968 - 1999
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Certificate Of Achievement
Certificate Of Appreciation
Cold War Certificate
Ordnance Corps Certificate of Appreciation
Presidential Certificate of Appreciation
Special Operations Command - Certificate of Appreciation

Sergeant Major

Ten Service Stripes

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Official Badges 

US SOCOM 172nd Infantry Brigade 1st Sustainment Command Army Materiel Command

Army Special Operations Command U.S. Army Vietnam US Army Retired USA Forces Command

USAE US Special Operations Command Army Retired-Soldier for Life Infantry Shoulder Cord US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

WWII EOD Sleeve Insignia Austrian High Alpine Police Badge EOD

 Unofficial Badges 

Airborne Ordnance Shoulder Cord Army Honorable Discharge (1984-Present) Cold War Medal

Cold War Veteran RVN Medal for Campaigns Outside the Frontier Special Operations Vietnam Veteran 50th Commemoration

Vietnam 50th Anniversary U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame Medal

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Post 8121, Seigfried-Leyte PostUnited States Naval InstituteVietnam EOD Veteran ChapterATWS Unit Historian
EOD Warrior Foundation
  2001, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 8121, Seigfried-Leyte Post (Member) (South Fork, Colorado) [Verified]1 - Chap. Page
  2006, United States Naval Institute - Assoc. Page
  2008, National EOD Association (NATEODA) , Vietnam EOD Veteran Chapter [Verified]1
  2008, National EOD Association (NATEODA) [Verified]
  2013, ATWS Unit Historian [Verified]
  2015, EOD Warrior Foundation - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Fully retired.  Keeping busy by writing, hiking, backpacking, rock and mountain climbing, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and alpine and backcountry skiing.

Questions That People Have Asked:

Why is my Master EOD Badge placed below my jumps wings in my retirement photo taken in November 1998.  From the period when the EOD Badges were first authorized for wear in 1956 until 2005, the EOD Badges were placed in Special Skill Group 5.  AR 670-1, dated 3 February 2005 now list the EOD Badges in Special Skill Group 3, above the Parachuist Badge and the HALO Badge in Special Skills Group 4.  This is where it should have been all along.

How was I awarded the CIB for Operation URGENT FURY if I was EOD (at that time MOS 55D).  Although my primary MOS was 55D, I was in an Infantry duty MOS 11B billet.

When and why did I transfer from EOD to Infantry MOS.  As soon as I made Master Sergeant in the EOD MOS, I put in to change my MOS to Infantry on 11 July 1988 (19 years in EOD).  I felt because of my duty assignments and ten years in 1st SFOD-D, I would be more competitive for Sergeant Major in the Infantry field.  My duites in 1st SFOD-D and later JSOC were not affective by the change.  This decision proved correct.
Other Comments:
Recipient of The Order of 1st SFOD-D - Delta Colors, Serial Number 123, on 19 October 1995, for singularly exemplary contributions to 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta (Airborne).  Graduate of Operator Training Course -1 (OTC-1).   In Delta served as an Operator, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, Master Breacher, Climbing Instructor, and Mountain Guide.  Historian for the Vietnam Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Veterans Chapter of the National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Association (NATEODA).  Assistant historian for the NATEODA.  Assist the EOD Warrior Foundation with historical EOD research.  Recieved the 2013 Art Macksey Citizenship Award presented by the Vietnam EOD Veterans Association.  Inducted into the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.

Married to Donna L. Ikenberry, a freelance photojournalist.  We have two daughters, six grandchildren, and one great grandchild.  The oldest two grandchildren had served in the U.S. Navy.  We currently have one grandson in the U.S. Army.  On 1 June 2018, Donna was awarded the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps "Keeper of the Flame" award

U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame 2018:
U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame weblink - See Year 2018: 

1.  BBC radio interview link that I did on the Iran Hostage Rescue Mission - Operation EAGLE CLAW, 24 - 25 April 1980, 12 May 2015, 15 minutes:

2.  SOFREP Radio Interview #1, Episode 322, 31 January 2018, 1 hour and 49 minutes:

3.  SOFREP Radio Interview #2, Episode 342, 11 April 2018, 1 hour and 47 minutes:

4.  Hazard Ground Podcast Interview #1, Episode #57, 26 February 2018, 1 hour:

5.  Hazard Ground Podcast Interview #2, Episode #73, 9 July, 56 minutes:

6.  The After Action Review, Inteview #1, Episode 16 - Stories from Vietnam, Iran, Grenada, to Desert Storm, 20 March 2020, 1 hour and 38 minutes:

7.  The After Action Review video podcast interview #2, Episode 26 - On Khobar Towers bombing and TWA flight 800 accident, 5 July 2020, 58 minutes:

8.  The Team House video podcast interview #40 - Operation EAGLE CLAW, Iran Hostage Rescue Mission, 1 May 2020, 2 hours and 19 minutes:

9. Shaping Opinion Podcast, people, events, and things that have shaped the way we think.  Interviewed by Tim O'Brien, website:     
My interview; 10 August 2020, 1 hour:

10. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Warrior Foundation (EODWF) podcast interview, by Sherri Beck and Mike Mack, website:
My interview: Podcast #14, 10 November 2020, 1 hour:

 Countries Deployed To or Visited

Place that I have visited in my life.

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Burma Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fassu Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria

ArgentinaAustraliaAustriaAntarcticaBahrainBarbadosBotswanaBrazilCanadaCambodiaCayman IslandsCubaCyprusEcuadorEgyptFalkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)FranceGrenadaGreenlandGermanyGuamHaitiHondurasIcelandIndonesiaIranJapanJordanKorea, SouthKuwaitOmanMexicoNorwayNew ZealandPolandPanamaQatarPhilippinesPuerto RicoSaudi ArabiaSouth AfricaSingaporeSudanSvalbardSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSwitzerlandUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayVietnamNamibiaWake IslandZimbabwe

 Remembrance Profiles -  60 Soldiers Remembered

 Tributes from Members  
God Bless You posted by MI Cameron, David (Pops), MSG 231 
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Parachutist (Basic)Military Freefall ParachutistExplosives Ordnance Disposal (Master)

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1968, 8th Battalion, 3rd Training Regiment (Fort Knox, KY), E/4
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Army Materiel Command (AMC)U.S. ArmyTechnical Escort Unit, US Army Materiel Command (AMC)Ordnance Units
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D)1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D)172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate)6th Infantry Division
Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
  1968-1968, 55C, US Army Materiel Command (AMC)
  1969-1969, 55D, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Course (EOD) Phase I
  1969-1969, 55D, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Course (EOD) Phase II
  1969-1970, 55D, Technical Escort Unit, US Army Materiel Command (AMC)
  1970-1970, 55D, 99th Ordnance Detachment (EOD), 533rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control
  1971-1971, 55D, 99th Ordnance Detachment (EOD), 533rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control
  1973-1978, 55D, 63rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD), 543rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control
  1978-1983, 55D, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D)
  1983-1985, 55D, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D)
  1985-1985, 55D, 176th Ordnance Detachment (EOD)
  1985-1985, 55D, 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate)
  1986-1986, 55D, 176th Ordnance Detachment (EOD)
  1986-1986, 55D, 6th Infantry Division
  1986-1999, 11Z50, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D)
  1992-1999, 11Z50, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Winter-Spring 1970 Campaign
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Sanctuary Counteroffensive Campaign (1970)/Operation Toan Thang 42 / Rock Crusher
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Sanctuary Counteroffensive Campaign (1970)
  1970-1971 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)
  1979-1981 Iran Hostage Crisis
  1980-1980 Operation Eagle Claw (Iran)2
  1983-1983 Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada)
  1991-1991 Gulf War/Defense of Saudi Arabia
  1991-1991 Gulf War/Liberation and Defense of Kuwait/Operation Desert Storm
  1994-1994 Operation Uphold Democracy (Haiti)1
 Reflections on Service
Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Army.
Whether you were in the service for several years or as a career, please describe the direction or path you took. What was your reason for leaving?
If you participated in any military operations, including combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, please describe those which made a lasting impact on you and, if life-changing, in what way?
Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which was your least favorite?
From your entire military service, describe any memories you still reflect back on to this day.
What professional achievements are you most proud of from your military career?
Of all the medals, awards, formal presentations and qualification badges you received, or other memorabilia, which one is the most meaningful to you and why?
Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having the most positive impact on you and why?
List the names of old friends you served with, at which locations, and recount what you remember most about them. Indicate those you are already in touch with and those you would like to make contact with.
Can you recount a particular incident from your service, which may or may not have been funny at the time, but still makes you laugh?
What profession did you follow after your military service and what are you doing now? If you are currently serving, what is your present occupational specialty?
What military associations are you a member of, if any? What specific benefits do you derive from your memberships?
In what ways has serving in the military influenced the way you have approached your life and your career? What do you miss most about your time in the service?
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to those who have recently joined the Army?
In what ways has helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
 Colleges Attended 
Excelsior College
  1993-1994, Excelsior College
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Sep 03, 2008, On the summit of Rio Grande Pyramid (13,821'), Colorado1
  Oct 30, 2012, General Photos11
  Nov 30, 2017, Military Bio
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