Caldwell, Michael, MSG

Armor (Enlisted)
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USA Retired
Current/Last Rank
Master Sergeant
Current/Last Service Branch
Armor
Current/Last Primary MOS
19Z-Armor Senior Sergeant
Current/Last MOS Group
Armor (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1997-2000, 19K10, A Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor
Previously Held MOS
19K10-M1 Armor Crewman
11Z50-Infantry Senior Sergeant
Service Years
1994 - 2015
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Order of Saint George
Order of the Spur
Voice Edition

Master Sergeant


Six Service Stripes



Four Overseas Service Bars



 Ribbon Bar

Combat Action 1st Award
Driver-W
Driver-T
 
Air Assault Badge
Rifle
Pistol
Missile

 

 Official Badges 

Army Physical Fitness Badge German Military Proficiency Gold 1st Armored Division 1st Cavalry Division

1st Infantry Division


 Unofficial Badges 

Combat Advisor Armor Shoulder Cord German Sports Badge Order of The Spur

Order of Saint George (Bronze)


 Military Association Memberships
1st Cavalry Division AssociationUS Armor AssociationGeneral of the Army Omar Bradley Chapter
  2006, 1st Cavalry Division Association [Verified]
  2007, US Armor Association
  2010, Association of United States Army (AUSA), General of the Army Omar Bradley Chapter (Member) (El Paso, Texas) [Verified] - Chap. Page



 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1994, 3rd Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment (Fort Knox, KY), E/223
 Unit Assignments
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR)1st Battalion, 37th Armor1st Battalion, 33rd ArmorUS Army Armor Center and School (Cadre) Fort Knox, KY
12th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Divison2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry (Airmobile) U.S. Army5th Battalion, 353rd Infantry Regiment
4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment1st Battalion, 77th ArmorSpecial Troops Battalion, 4th BCT, 1st Armored Division
US Army Acquisition Execution Support Command/Agency
  1994-1997, 19K10, B Troop, 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR)
  1997-2000, 19K10, A Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor
  2000-2002, 19K10, A Company, 1st Battalion, 33rd Armor
  2002-2005, 19K10, Unit of Action Maneuver Battle Lab, Fort Knox
  2005-2006, 19K10, C Company, 1st Battalion (Rifle) 12th Cavalry Regiment
  2006-2008, 19K10, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry (Airmobile)
  2008-2009, 19K10, Warrior Leader Course (WLC)
  2009-2010, 19K10, 5th Battalion, 353rd Infantry Regiment
  2010-2010, 19Z, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division
  2010-2011, 19Z, C Company, 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment
  2010-Present, 11Z50, B Company, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor
  2012-2013, 19Z, Special Troops Battalion, 4th BCT, 1st Armored Division
  2013-Present, US Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), US Army Acquisition Execution Support Command/Agency
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1997-1998 Operation Joint Guard (Bosnia and Herzegovina)8
  2003-2004 OIF/Transition of Iraq (2003-04)/Camp Diamondback (Mosul Air Base), Iraq48
  2010-2011 Operation New Dawn (OND)13
  2012-2013 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) /OEF - Afghanistan21
 Military Association Memberships
1st Cavalry Division AssociationUS Armor AssociationGeneral of the Army Omar Bradley Chapter
  2006, 1st Cavalry Division Association [Verified]
  2007, US Armor Association
  2010, Association of United States Army (AUSA), General of the Army Omar Bradley Chapter (Member) (El Paso, Texas) [Verified] - Chap. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on MSG Caldwell's US Army Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE ARMY.
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Army.
My Army Recruiter SSG Constantine. He went above and beyond the call of duty to get me to join. I was a hard-headed, troubled teenager.
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?
I joined the U.S. Army in May of 1994 as a 19K10 Armored Crewman. The folks at MEPS lied to me but I haven't regretted my decision since the day I made it.

I completed One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Knox, Kentucky in Echo company, 2-13 Cavalry Regiment. Upon
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - 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?
completion of OSUT, I was assigned to 2nd platoon of Bravo Troop (Bandits), 1/3 ACR which was at Fort Bliss, Texas (My duty description was Tank Driver). The Regiment moved to Fort Carson, Colorado in 1995.

I reenlisted in 1996 for an overseas duty assignment. I was sent overseas to Germany and was assigned to 2nd platoon, 1-37 Armor Battalion out of Ray Barracks, Friedberg, Germany. I was given a Gunner's seat as soon as I arrived. Germany was the most memorable duty station.

Those three years captured so many memories. I attended PLDC and BNCOC. I shot at least 5 gunneries. I had two sons. I deployed to Bosnia. I traveled quite a bit around Europe with my family, I spent a crapload of time in the "BOX" at Hoensfeld and Grafenwoer and met many friends with whom I still communicate with to this day.

I reenlisted in 1999 for Fort Lewis, Washington. I wanted to see if it was true what everyone had told me about going back home. It was! I was assigned to 1-33 Armor Battalion. I was given my own tank this time. Yakima here I come. Fort Lewis was where I got to see the Army begin to transform and witness the worst terrorist event to take place on our soil. We put on black berets and got rid of the most important piece of military equipment in my eyes, the M1A1 main battle tank and drew Strykers.

I quickly reenlisted to get out of that soggy, no tank having a location. Fort Knox, Kentucky here I come. I know there will always be tanks there. I thought at least LOL. I was assigned to the United States Army Armor Center (USAARMC) my duty description was Senior Training Management NCO. I do not know where that title came from, but I dealt with Army experimentation and worked from the Unit of Action Maneuver Battle Lab (UAMBL). Very fun job. I was able to regain a little humanness.

I cut the fun short by reenlisting INDEF to meet the PCS requirements for Fort Bliss, Texas once again. There was a brigade from 1st Cavalry Division that was going to stand up at Fort Bliss and I just had to be part of that. Longknife here I come. What an experience! From sand to an actual footprint that had everything that a traditional BCT had/has. The only difference was that the buildings were/are portable.

I got my first taste of combat with this unit as a Tank Platoon Sergeant. I spent time in 2-12 Cavalry Regiment, 2-7 Cavalry Regiment and upon redeployment from Iraq, went off to be the Chief Instructor for the Warrior Leader Course at the Fort Bliss NCO Academy (Air Defense). Best job for me, hands down. Great organization.

Selection for MSG brought this assignment to an end. As soon as I made "The List" I was on assignment for Fort Polk, Louisiana. How the heck did this happen? Well, I got to stand another unit up from nothing to something. I was a First Sergeant for an Artillery battery in the 162nd IN BDE.

Never visioned me in a situation like this. I made the most of it but when an opportunity came to depart that wonderful location, I jumped on it. Fort Bliss, I'm coming back home. I was given a Tank company this time. Comanche company 4-6 IN. This just so happened to be the same Tank company that I served with in Mosul, Iraq in 2006/2007. Different name but same UIC (WEZEC0). I will never forget it.

I was only given a year in that seat due to a First Sergeant issue. I was sent off to an Infantry company. Baker company 1-77 Armor Battalion. A month after my Change of Responsibility I was on COS Adder and learning how Infantrymen do business. My eyes were opened and I grew attached. Immediately the following redeployment I was placed on an SFAAT team and prepped for an upcoming mission to Afghanistan.

To be continued...
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?
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - 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?
I participated in OIF and OND. Both were very significant to me. In 2006 I deployed with 4/1 CAV to Mosul, Iraq for 15 months. That is a lot of time to spend all day every day with a small group of guys. We saw tragedy but God brought us all back home. I miss you all 4th platoon.

The OND deployment was only a 4-month deployment but I was with a great Infantry company with a great Company Commander and we got to see something happen that I know I never thought I would while still wearing Army Greens. The drawdown and pulling out of Iraq. What a great feeling.
DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY SITUATION DURING YOUR MILITARY SERVICE WHEN YOU BELIEVED THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY YOU MIGHT NOT SURVIVE? IF SO, PLEASE DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME.
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - Did you encounter any situation during your military service when you believed there was a possibility you might not survive? If so, please describe what happened and what was the outcome.
I never once had any doubts about surviving. I always believed that keeping a positive outlook and leaning hard on instinct and training would get me and my guys home. Can't call that mindset doctrinal, but I can say I deployed three times to combat and didn't lose one Soldier. Glory be to God!
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Every single one of my assignments had wonderful memories with wonderful people. If I had to pick one or two I would have to start with my time in Germany. NCOs like SFC Russell Obey made the Army what I thought it was supposed to be. He demanded Soldiers to
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which was your least favorite?
perform their duties. I do not know exactly how he did it but I never got to see failure while he was my Platoon Sergeant. Who knows what he would have done to you or for you.

I got to see other NCOs like SSG Theodore Davis truly teach, coach and mentor the young Soldiers. He was definitely Tommy Tanker.

Also Officers like CPT Roderic Spencer who led from the front and displayed a human characteristic for all to appreciate. We trained hard but in between training we had fun. And those who deserved it were rewarded for their merits.

The other assignment I would say had great memories was my short tour at the Fort Bliss NCO Academy. The Commandant, CSM Gary Hall, and the Deputy Commandant, 1SG Robert Navarro were the picture-perfect team. I thought I would be treated as an outsider since I was not an Air Defender but this was never the case. I was given all of the assistance that a person could ask for. I had all professional cadre. I will not list all of their names here but they all know who they are. It was tough at first but we all grew to appreciate each other and the positions we held. The students were great also. I still hear the term " hello Chief" from time to time.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE MILITARY SERVICE, DESCRIBE ANY MEMORIES YOU STILL REFLECT BACK ON TO THIS DAY.
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - From your entire military service, describe any memories you still reflect back on to this day.
The memory that stands out the most in my head is when I first reported to Fort Bliss back in September 1994. I remember feeling so alone and just a tad bit scared until I saw Ronnie Evaro in the reception center. We were nearly enemies during OSUT but when we saw each other that night we were best friends for life. This is no joke. Ronnie and I were assigned to the same platoon. We were roommates. He introduced me to my wife and even though the U.S. Army did not work out for him, we still are great friends 18 years later.
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?
The most meaningful award I received was an Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) that was presented to me during Spring Gunnery 1995. I was a PV2 at the time and had loaded for three tanks already that day. I remember walking in the debrief shack on range 51 in Dona
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - 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?
Ana, New Mexico when a strange-looking man with a bird on his collar said: "Where is the loader!". Everyone pointed at me and he came and shook my hand and asked me if I had been lap loading. I had no clue as to what that meant but my Tank Commander said "No, sir" pretty quick. When I caught on to what it meant, I showed the Full Bird my hands. I had blisters and cuts that showed that there was just a whole lot of grabbing and slapping going on in the turret. At the end of our debrief he had my crew and I come to the back of the room where he presented me with the ARCOM.

BTW... Lap loading is when a Tanker holds a round in his lap in between engagements so that he can load another round quicker. Not a safe act.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
This would go to SFC Russell Obey. He was a one of a kind Platoon Sergeant. You could tell which tank was his because it had a weight bench on the turret. He slept on that weight bench. He could read the Stars and Stripes while we were shooting Tank
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having the most positive impact on you and why?
Table VIII. He was fluent in who knows how many languages and it got all kinds of stuff for us in Germany. His greatest attribute to me though was that he knew his Soldiers more than they knew themselves.

There was a handful of us young NCOs that were for sure getting out and going to do other things with our lives. We did not want to attend any boards or take any college courses. We were not given a choice. SFC Obey made us appear before boards. From Soldier of the Month to promotion boards. We all were taken to the Education Center and supervised as we signed up for ANY class.

He told me to always keep doors of opportunity open because if you allow them to close all of the ways you most likely will never get them open again. He was so right. Who knows where I would be right now. Thanks, Russell.
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?
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - 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?
I will never forget a particular day during OSUT when we returned from dinner chow and one of the guys in my bay had some Skittles that he had hidden. Well the Drill Sergeants had found the Skittles and spelled out "OH S&*T" on his bunk and he just so happened to be the first one to walk in the bay and the first words out of his mouth were written on his bunk. I remember knowing that we were all going to get smoked but it was funny and constantly talked about for the rest of the cycle. Crazy to think that candy was not allowed.

That would get a Drill Sergeant relieved today I am sure.
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?
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - 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?
I am still serving proudly. I am a First Sergeant on a Security Force Advise and Assist Team. We are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan this summer.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - What military associations are you a member of, if any? What specific benefits do you derive from your memberships?
I am a member of the 1st Cavalry Division Association, the Association of the United States Army, and the Armor Association. These associations bring numerous benefits to Soldiers and I strongly encourage any Soldier to become a member. The price is tiny compared to what most of us blow money on. Do a little research and see what they have to offer. I am only a member of a few. There are many more out there.
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?
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - 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?
The United States Army has made me who I am today. I do not know what people would say to me if I had not joined but I am positive that I wouldn't be looked at the same by my family, friends, and strangers. I am almost at the end of my career and I can honestly say I will not feel like there is something that I should do to feel complete. I have had the opportunity to do things that I would never have imagined. I was able to start a family at 19 years old and not be on welfare or homeless.

My wife would say that my Military service has made me way too rule or policy-based. I have a hard time breaking rules. It still drives me crazy that there are Soldiers who are comfortable with putting their hands in their pockets.

My Drill Sergeants were too good I guess. I don't even do it in civilian clothes. Good order and discipline equal satisfaction. My opinion.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE ARMY?
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to those who have recently joined the Army?
Hang tough. As the Military begins to downsize it will be a little tougher to advance and stay in. Do your best and go for the Gold medals. 300 on the APFT is going to be the standard again in the near future. Don't focus on the past. Expect the unexpected and try to smile as often as you can. Put your family first whenever you get the opportunity. They know you have to put the Army and Soldiers first most of the time but when the Army gives you a break go run with the family. When the Army spits you out all beat up you will have nothing but family. Don't be that single 40 something year old at the bar feeling bad because the NFL got all of your free time.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
MSG Michael Caldwell (C-Well) - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
TWS and the US Army
Togetherweserved is a great way for us older guys to link up with guys that we knew before the World Wide Web. I have found guys that I thought would never see again. I had already forgotten their names but I didn't have to know their names. I knew they were Tankers.

DS 8/19/2019

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