Part 2: Michael White & the National Guard
Michael White is a recent Haselden inductee, having just joined the team in May. How does he spend his time off? A good chunk of it is spent serving his country in the National Guard.
Michael comes from a military family—his dad, both brothers, and sister all serve. It was a natural decision for him to join ROTC in college, and serving in the military in some capacity was something he’s always planned on. In August of 2014, Michael was commissioned into the Texas Army National Guard as a 2nd Lieutenant.
What Is the National Guard?
The National Guard was originally formed as a “citizen force” in 1636. Today’s Guard Soldiers typically work primarily in their home state, but can be called on to respond to domestic emergencies, reconstruction efforts, counterdrug missions, overseas combat missions, etc.
College, ROTC, & Training
Originally from Texas, Michael went to school at Texas Tech University on a four-year ROTC scholarship, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Construction Management concentration. His degree also included a minor in Military Science, due to his enrollment in the Army ROTC program. To complete the ROTC program, Michael took four years of military science classes, participated in PT (physical training) every morning, completed a 3-hour lab each week (consisting of soldiering skills becoming more advanced each year), and participated in a field training exercise (such as land navigation or a mission) at Fort Sill or Fort Hood every semester. His ROTC training culminated in a 30-day leadership development course at Fort Lewis, WA (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord).
Michael continued on to Fort Leonard Wood, MO for six months for the Engineer Basic Officer Leadership Course. At that point, he now branch qualified to lead engineer soldiers. He continues his annual training which includes one weekend every month and a minimum of two weeks each summer.
Balancing Service & Civilian Life
Serving in the Guard offers a unique mix of military engagement and civilian daily life. For Michael, it’s the perfect combination, allowing him to serve his country while continuing with the day job he is passionate about: construction. But the time commitment does require a balancing act, and for Michael, that’s the toughest part. Luckily, he has a very supportive family who understands and fully backs his decision to serve. “I’ve known my wife since the 7th grade,” said Michael with a smile. “So she was not surprised when I decided to join the Guard.”
Serving in the Guard
Michael is now a 1st Lieutenant and serves as a platoon leader for a horizontal engineering platoon. In Texas, his unit was the 822nd Horizontal EN CO. He led 27 soldiers on various horizontal construction projects such as roads, ditches, and concrete pads. Being part of an engineering platoon, his work with the Guard directly relates to his job at Haselden, and what he learns in one capacity makes him more knowledgeable and efficient in the other.
Now that he’s in Colorado, Michael is transferring to the Colorado National Guard and taking over a new platoon. In fact, this weekend is his first drill with his new unit, the 947th EN CO. Having the opportunity to put into place lessons learned with his last unit is something he’s looking forward to. Their next big project is the summer of 2018 at Camp Hale (where the 10th Mountain Division trained during WWII) in Leadville repairing roads.
Currently, Michael’s signed on for a six-year commitment. How long does he plan to stay in the Guard? Another big smile. “I’d like to do 20 years. I like serving as a soldier. I like training soldiers and seeing them develop both in their military functions and as individuals.” There’s no question that Michael is already living Haselden’s core values!
Watch for our next blog post for a look at another Haselden team member!
Most Interesting Project?
So far, Michael’s favorite project as part of the Guard was a culvert and ditch expansion in Brownwood, TX. Part of a road expansion project, they had to expand and lower two 24”, 70-foot-long culverts and lower them 15” in order to allow a creek to drain properly and prevent erosion. The road was a critical path through the town and the project had to be completed in four days. His crew worked 24 hours/day in 12-hour shifts to get the job done.