While cleaning out some files in my office and came across my old military records. I decided to preserve some of the documents that highlighted my military career for my posterity. In addition, I will provide a brief timeline of the different units I have served in spanning nearly a twenty-year period.
Purpose of Joining the Military
I wanted to join the military in some capacity because many of my ancestors had served their country in various capacities during their lifetimes. Also, I desired to continue the tradition. In addition, a number of men I greatly admire including my father, Duane Carlson (Army), father-in-law, Ralph Higginson (Army), Uncle Kenny Christensen (Army), Uncle Keith Carlson (Air Force), and Uncle LaMar Carlson (Army).
My military career began when I joined the Utah Army National Guard (UTARNG) while still in high school. I was 17 years of age at the time and acceded to the 116th Engineer (Heavy Equipment) Company located in Springville, Utah.
Within a week of graduating from Spanish Fork High School, I was off to Basic and AIT training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. After completing my training there I returned home. Subsequently, I took a leave of absence from the UTARNG to serve a two-year mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Upon the completion of my LDS mission, I returned home to attend BYU and continue my role as a “Weekend Warrior” in the UTARNG.
R.O.T.C. and Special Forces
After about a year, I enrolled in the R.O.T.C. program at BYU to become an officer. Subsequently, I transferred units to the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Camp Williams, UT. As I remember, I spent about four years in this unit and served as a platoon leader and company executive officer.
During my service in the UTARNG, I had opportunities to travel much of the world; Europe, Southeast Asia, and other theaters of operation. Also, my military career provided opportunities to serve in various training exercises; to include many airborne operations as an Airborne Mission Commander (AMC) and jumpmaster. I was fortunate enough to log over 100 jumps with only one broken ankle. Some of the places I got to jump into included Ft. Gordon, GA, Camp Williams, UT, Hawaii (4 times), and other various locations around the world. Aircraft I got to jump out of include: C-130 Hercules, C-141 StarLifter, C-7A Caribou, CH-53 Sea Stallion, and UH-1 Huey Helicopter.
I took a leave from the UTARNG for a short time because I moved out of the state to pursue a career opportunity that presented itself. However, after I returned to Utah, I got back into the UTARNG and joined a unit located in Lehi, Utah; an engineer bridge company: 117 ENGR Co (AFBR) where I served as a platoon leader.
After a few years, I transferred to the HHC 211th Aviation Group (Attack), which commanded an Apache Helicopter Battalion. I spent the rest of my career there as the staff signal officer and COMSEC Custodian.
After serving for two or three years as a staff officer in the 211th, I resigned my commission to concentrate my efforts on an auto and tire care center I had purchased. I told my commanding officer that I would return in a few years when I had more time to devote to my job there. He said if I got out at that point I would never return… he turned out to be right!
Highlights with Memories
Posted below are a few diplomas of graduation from various military schools I have completed, some accommodations, and my final OER (Officer Evaluation Report):