New Commanding Officer Joins ODU's Army ROTC Program
It's been 17 years since Lt. Col. Carl Michaud has been involved in military leadership on a college campus.
The longtime armor officer couldn't be more excited about his posting as commanding officer of the Army ROTC battalion at Old Dominion University. Excited because of the opportunity it offers to mold leadership in young, active cadets. And excited because ODU is where he gets to do it.
"I'm very fortunate in what Lt. Col. (Bill) Brown has turned over," Michaud said of the former CO. "It's one of the largest programs in the nation. It's got great on-campus support from the administration. And it's got very well-performing cadets."
Originally from Texas, Michaud earned his commission in 1993 from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a master's of science from Kansas State University.
His postings have included tank platoon leader and company executive officer, 2nd Battalion, 33rd Armor, at Fort Knox, Ky., and operations officer and executive officer, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at Fort Hood, Texas. He has served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Going "back to school" was one of his first choices for his next duty assignment. "That's because it's one of the few jobs as a lieutenant colonel where you still get to impact the training and the larger army in how you get your cadets ready to be future leaders," Michaud said.
"For a guy like me who's an armor officer, who's spent his whole career training soldiers, it's just a great chance to continue that training and development of these young officers - college students - as they move into the next phase of their career."
Michaud has been on campus for a little over a month, and he has been impressed with what he's seen.
"When I was first assigned and offered ODU, I did what everyone would do - I looked it up on the Web. After I saw when it was established, I thought it would be an old campus and the buildings would be older," he said.
"But ODU has done a great job modernizing. This is a state-of-the-art campus. The classrooms are phenomenal."
Michaud wants to continue to build on the tradition of engagement in the campus community that the Army and Naval ROTC units have at the university.
"When I was a cadet, we weren't nearly involved in the on-campus activities as we are now. That is definitely the right trend and the right way to go," Michaud said.
"The campus supports us very well. We owe a little payback to the campus in supporting its events, too. It can't just be a one-sided relationship."
That type of interaction with non-military classmates is important for officer development, Michaud said.
"Half of what you do as an officer is communication and influencing. Getting yourself out there on campus, participating and supporting your school, is a good stepping stone for what you're going to experience," he explained.
"There is a large proportion of the population that doesn't deal with the military, and may have misconceptions about what we do and what our purpose is. It's a good way to break down those barriers."
Michaud, his wife, Cindi, and their two children will make Hampton Roads their home for the next few years, so they are doing their best to feel part of the ODU community. He has joined the Big Blue Club and is looking forward to his first Monarch football game.
"Having been away for 17 years, it's good to come back to an educational setting, to see the development of students and how campus life is continuing to develop our great youth into responsible and productive citizens. It's a very rewarding experience."
This article was posted on: August 11, 2010
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