Rathge, Michael, CW4

Aviation (Officer)
 
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Current Service Status
USA Retired
Current/Last Rank
Chief Warrant Officer 4
Current/Last Service Branch
Aviation
Current/Last Primary MOS
153B-UH-1 Pilot
Current/Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1983-1986, 100B, S Troop, 4th Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
Previously Held MOS
67V10-Observation/Scout Helicopter Repairer
67N20-UH-1 Helicopter Repairer
67N10-UH-1 Helicopter Repairer
09W-Warrant Officer Flight Student
100B-Utility/Observation Helicopter Pilot
Service Years
1971 - 1996

Aviation

Chief Warrant Officer 4


Two Service Stripes



Four Overseas Service Bars



 Ribbon Bar

Aviator Badge (Master)
Rifle

 

 Official Badges 

US Army Retired (Pre-2007)


 Unofficial Badges 

Army Honorable Discharge (1984-Present) Order of The Spur


 Military Association Memberships
US Army Warrant Officers AssociationArmy Together We ServedNational Rifle Association (NRA)Post 4895, Howard Smiley Johnson Post
  1979, US Army Warrant Officers Association - Assoc. Page
  2012, Army Together We Served [Verified]
  2013, National Rifle Association (NRA) [Verified]
  2014, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 4895, Howard Smiley Johnson Post (Clarksville, Tennessee) [Verified] - Chap. Page



 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1971, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Training Brigade (Fort Lewis, WA), D/33
 Unit Assignments
US Army Aviation Training Command194th Armored BrigadeTroop H, 10th Cavalry (Air), 17th Aviation Group782nd Maintenance Battalion
US Army Armor Center and School (Cadre) Fort Knox, KYInitial Entry Rotary Wing Training Course (IERW)11th Armored Cavalry RegimentSpecial Forces Units
4th Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment159th Aviation Regiment207th Aviation Company101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
  1972-1972, 67V10, US Army Aviation Training Command
  1972-1972, 67V10, 194th Armored Brigade
  1972-1973, 67N20, Troop H, 10th Cavalry (Air), 17th Aviation Group
  1973-1974, 67N10, 782nd Maintenance Battalion
  1974-1976, 67N10, HHC, US Army Armor Center and School (Cadre) Fort Knox, KY
  1976-1977, 09W, Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training Course (IERW)
  1977-1980, 100B, Air Cavalry Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
  1980-1983, 100B, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  1983-1986, 100B, S Troop, 4th Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
  1986-1990, 153B, HHC, US Army Armor Center and School (Cadre) Fort Knox, KY
  1990-1992, 153B, A Company, 4th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment
  1992-1995, 153B, 207th Aviation Company
  1995-1996, 153B, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1972-1973 Vietnam War/Cease-Fire Campaign (1972-73)
  1990-1991 Gulf War/Defense of Saudi Arabia/Operation Desert Shield
  1991-1991 Gulf War/Liberation and Defense of Kuwait/Operation Desert Storm
 Military Association Memberships
US Army Warrant Officers AssociationArmy Together We ServedNational Rifle Association (NRA)Post 4895, Howard Smiley Johnson Post
  1979, US Army Warrant Officers Association - Assoc. Page
  2012, Army Together We Served [Verified]
  2013, National Rifle Association (NRA) [Verified]
  2014, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 4895, Howard Smiley Johnson Post (Clarksville, Tennessee) [Verified] - Chap. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on CW4 Rathge's US Army Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE ARMY.
CW4 Michael Rathge - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Army.
Greeting: You are hereby ordered for induction...
The biggest influence on my initial decision to join the military was the Selective Service or "draft" system. I won that lottery and was ordered to report. I did well on the pre-induction aptitude tests and was accepted for Warrant Officer Flight Training. Classes were full so they delayed my entry on active duty for 6 months.

When the 6-month delay ended I shipped out to Basic Combat Training at Ft Lewis, Washington. While there the Army changed the qualification requirements for flight school from HS completion to a 2-year college degree, which I didn't have. I spent a very long day at an Education Center taking college equivalency exams in an effort to get a two-year degree in one day. Of the 5 exams, I passed four. Consequently, I was sent to Ft Rucker, Alabama to attend aircraft maintenance training on UH-1, OH-58 and OH-6 aircraft.
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?
CW4 Michael Rathge - 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?
25 wonderful years with the iconic Huey
After a few months of crewing OH-58s with the CAV at Fort Knox, it was off to Vietnam for the last 6 months of that war as a Huey Crew Chief. A full tour in an intermediate level maintenance unit at Ft Bragg was followed by a tour at Ft Knox's flight detachment. Finally, I managed to get into flight school and graduated with 76-43, Yellow Flight. I spent a little over ten years flying in Germany (with a brief detour to Iraq for Desert Storm) and the rest at Bragg, Knox, and Campbell, retiring as an UH-1 SIP in 1996. While I saw a lot more combat in Vietnam than in Iraq, I felt Iraq was actually more dangerous due to the terrain and environmental conditions.
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?
As a Huey Crew Chief in Vietnam, I flew many interesting missions. I think dropping flares was my least favorite mission. We also deployed listening and sniffer devices performed troop insertions and extractions and made occasional supply runs. But my ship was mainly used as the command and control platform
CW4 Michael Rathge - 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?
You can run but you can't hide!
for Air Cav operations with our AH-1s and OH-6s.

As a pilot-in-command during Operation Desert Storm, I usually flew O-6s and above from the 7th Corps HQ to locations in the forward area.Two memorable missions were flying a Dept of the Army film crews to document the initial breach of the Iraqi border on day 1 of the ground war, and again the day after the Iraqi forces tried to retreat out of Kuwait on the "highway of death". Also, some Iraqi soldiers tried to surrender to us 3 days in a row as we flew over their position and I reported them to the MPs the first two days. On the third day, my Company Commander and I dropped some food and water for them on our way to Kuwait, then "captured" them and gave them a ride to the POW camp on our way home. They were very grateful for our return and a pack of real Marlboros. I hope the MPs didn't confiscate the smokes.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
While Germany was the most fun socially, Special Forces at Ft Bragg was probably the most challenging and fun flying I did. We performed missions in locations from New Hampshire to Florida to Utah and flew everything from helo-casting in the ocean to high altitude insertion and extractions wearing oxygen
CW4 Michael Rathge - Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which was your least favorite?
Last flight, with good friend Dave Neel
and night vision goggles in the mountains. Most of the training involved fellow soldiers climbing into or out of the helicopter in flight or suspended below it on ropes or ladders, so precision execution, communication, and teamwork were imperative. Good stuff!

My least favorite duty assignment was my last. I arrived at Ft. Campbell expecting a final year of flying UH-1s. When I reported to my new unit the CMDR informed me he had just turned in his last Huey. I had already turned in my retirement application and only owed one year of duty to pay Uncle Sam for moving my household goods back from GE and the unit wouldn't spend the funds to pay for a transition to UH-60s. So I spent a year at the simulator branch supervising DA civilians. Thankfully, a previous Commander of mine was assigned to the 160th and he arranged a final flight for me in an MH-6 Killer Egg (a bird I had once qualified to perform maintenance on as an enlisted soldier but had never flown as a pilot). Many thanks, David Neel! It was the highlight of my tour.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE MILITARY SERVICE, DESCRIBE ANY MEMORIES YOU STILL REFLECT BACK ON TO THIS DAY.
Oddly, the memory that first comes to mind took place on my 40th birthday. I found myself living in a two-man tent just south of the Saudi/Iraqi border waiting for "the mother of all battles" to get underway. Life was full of questions; when will the fight begin, how
CW4 Michael Rathge - From your entire military service, describe any memories you still reflect back on to this day.
Blowing out the candles in good ol' SA
intense will it be, will I survive? I joined my new unit just as they rushed through deployment processing a month earlier and hadn't had time to bond with any of my comrades. I was lonely and scared, and wondering what the hell I was doing there at age 40 (which I considered old at that time). It was a real low point for me. Fortunately, the pilots and crew chiefs got together and threw a birthday party for me, complete with gifts they culled from their own meager personal belongings and a "cake" (snack pastry). One of my most prized possessions is the baseball they all autographed. I go back to that memory whenever the warrior bond is mentioned. They didn't know me well but sacrificed for me when I needed the emotional support most. None of them knows how important that gesture of kindness was to me!
WHAT PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER?
CW4 Michael Rathge - What professional achievements are you most proud of from your military career?
Last combat casualty of the Vietnam War. RIP, Bob!
I was awarded an Air Medal for Valor after participating in the rescue of a downed pilot and two passengers on a "McGuire rig" and the recovery of the Crew Chief's body from the crash site in enemy territory. Of course, it wasn't something I consciously decided to do or volunteered for. I was there as events unfolded and I did what was expected of me, nothing more.
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?
CW4 Michael Rathge - 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?
Mountain formation flights with full-face goggles and O2 masks.
The Master Aviator Badge is probably the most meaningful fashion accessory I wore on my uniform. To me, it represents 5000+ flight hours of accident-free flying over 20 years while performing a very wide variety of missions and a great deal of night flying at low and very low altitudes. I have to admit that I don't deserve all the credit for that glowing safety record... God was truly my co-pilot during several flights when I probably shouldn't have survived.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
CW4 Michael Rathge - Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having the most positive impact on you and why?
My better half.
The person with the biggest impact on me during my Army career was (hands down) my wife, Christa. She traded a pretty charmed life for the chaos and stress of life in the military and transformed me from a scatter-brained single guy to a financially secure and faithful husband. She worked very hard to pay off our debts and bolster our savings while her contemporaries were busy attending shopping trips and vacationing. I am a far better person now and was a far better officer then because of her!
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.
I served with a young Maintenance Officer named CPT Jeanine Jercitano in the 207th Aviation Co in Heidelberg, GE. She was as inexperienced as she was conscientious and she always appreciated it when I, a UH-1 Instructor Pilot, would ride along on test flights as her co-pilot. One afternoon we
CW4 Michael Rathge - 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.
The happy survivors
took a Huey on a post-phase inspection test flight. After completing all the appropriate checks we turned to leave the test flight area she took her hand off the throttle momentarily and I took the opportunity to give her an unannounced simulated engine failure. To my surprise, she lowered the collective so rapidly that the checklist rose from its resting place on the center console to about eye level as the seat belt strained to keep me in my seat. After she established a proper autorotation profile I told her to recover and climb back up. She looked at me with saucer-size eyes and asked if I had done that. She was pissed at first but changed her mind after I told her how well she had performed the emergency procedure. 25 years later we still socialize occasionally and she always tells the 'no shit, there I was' tale to others in my presence.
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?
A few friends and I set out to discover Munich and the Bavarian Alps on a 3-day weekend soon after arriving in Germany. After drinking way too much in the Hof Brau Haus we headed south to the mountains and arrived too late to "score any chicks". Having the forethought
CW4 Michael Rathge - 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?
Wake up, Lee!
to bring our Army sleeping bags with us, we drove up into the mountains and found a pasture along the side of the road. We rolled our sleeping bags out under a big shade tree and proceeded to sleep it off. I had an annoying recurring dream that night which included the relentless ringing of a bell and slowly woke up.

Remembering where I was and realizing the sun was about to rise on a spectacularly beautiful landscape, I made my way to the car to get my camera. Although I was now awake I could still hear the ringing bell and as the light level slowly increased I discovered the source. A small group of cows was grazing in the pasture and moving slowly toward my friends. One cow, drooling green snotty grass-laden saliva, found my friend Lee and slimed him mercilessly in an attempt to sniff his face. Lee opened his eyes and saw a huge cow standing over him. Boy did he scream like a girl! Also, it was cold when we arrived, but our body heat had thawed the cow patties beneath our sleeping bags and they were soaked through with cow shit! Funny.
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 decided not to pursue a new profession after retirement. Instead, I have worked at several part and full-time jobs which I enjoyed in some way. These included driving 18-wheelers, school and charter buses, and landscaping. But the most challenging and rewarding "job" I've had was foster parenting which isn't really a job because, if done right, doesn't pay a dime. My wife and I invited some 30 kids into our home and our family. Most were teenage girls because, well, nobody else wants to foster teen girls. We gave them our all and I pray that we helped them.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
CW4 Michael Rathge - What military associations are you a member of, if any? What specific benefits do you derive from your memberships?
Like this fellow, I'm just proud to be a vet.
US Army Warrant Officers Association; Army Together We Served; National Rifle Association; Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Post 4895, Howard Smiley Johnson Post (Clarksville, Tennessee). Truthfully, I haven't been active in any of these organizations.
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?
CW4 Michael Rathge - 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?
Random photo of me with our 1st grandchild, Jackson
Although I grew up with a pretty good work ethic, the military reinforced in me the importance of planning ahead and of seeing something that needs to be done or corrected and immediately doing or correcting it. This has made me a valued employee in all the various jobs and activities in my post-military life.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE ARMY?
CW4 Michael Rathge - Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to those who have recently joined the Army?
Drafted, with no plan to make it a career.
Live on half of your income, save the rest and take good care of your teeth!
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
CW4 Michael Rathge - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
TWS and the US Army
Maintaining a profile page for a fallen comrade helps me remember how lucky I was at treacherous moments and how blessed I am to have served!

DS 4/25/17

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