Colonel Mike Howard, US Marines (Ret.)
Mike graduated from high school (the Webb School in Claremont, California), in 1973. He joined the Marine Corps Platoon Leader Class program on 1 March 1974 while in college. Upon his graduation in 1977 from Saint Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, he was commissioned as an officer of Marines. He served extensively in various combat engineer units, supporting Marine infantry both on land and sea. This service included both US Coasts, Okinawa, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Hawaii, Israel, Kuwait, and Iraq. He served command tours as a combat engineer platoon, company, and battalion commander, in addition to a wide range of staff billets. His last command was the 960 man 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, which he commanded from 2001 to 2004. He made two combat deployments to Iraq where he participated with 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) in the original assault and capture of Baghdad in March & April 2003. His second combat tour was also with “One MEF” as senior Marine Corps engineer liaison to the US Army & Coalition Headquarters in Baghdad, focusing on the November 2004 Battle for Fallujah. Among his military decorations, he holds two Bronze Stars, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Iraq Campaign Medal with four service stars.
He has been married for the past 34 years to the former Lynn Marie Zieper of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a teacher by training, an artist by avocation, and in his opinion, a “Proverbs 31” wife and mother. They are blessed with five children (Jessica, Rachel, Meredith, Nathan, & Karen) and live in Helvetia, just north of Hillsboro, Oregon ( headquarters of #SaluteTargets ). Mike retired from the Marine Corps on 1 March 2006, with 32 years of honorable service. He has a BA degree in History & Religion from St. Olaf College and an MA degree in History from Portland State University. His heroes are the Messiah Jesus Christ, the prophet Isaiah, the Apostle Paul, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, the Marines and others he served in Iraq with, and John Wayne. He now devotes himself to serving in his church and volunteer work in his community. Mike’s hobbies are enjoying his family, reading & writing history, staying connected with his veteran buddies, recreational shooting, and gardening with his best friend Lynn. His life philosophy is based on Luke 12:48 “Those to whom much is given, much is expected.” Mike states that “Every day is a gift from God. And any day you are not being shot at is a good day.”