COL(R) Mark McManigal grew up on a farm in Nebraska and attended Yankton College in South Dakota, enlisting in the National Guard during his sophomore year. He commissioned as an Infantry Officer and was assigned to B Company, 2-21 Infantry. Following the Advanced Course, he was assigned to 4-27th Infantry in the 25th Infantry Division, and completed deployments to Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, and Australia. Some of his subsequent assignments were at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and Fort Polk, Louisiana, followed by a deployment to the Sinai Peninsula as part of the MFO peacekeeping mission (Multinational Force and Observers) between the Egyptian and Israeli armies. From 1997 to 1999, he was the S3 (Operations Officer) and XO (Executive Officer) in the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade “Strike,” 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). While he was the XO of 1-502, he mentored Ken Bolin (see his interview). In 2002, he was assigned to the ROTC detachment at Mississippi State, an assignment he calls his most rewarding in the Army. After attending the Air War College in 2005, he served as the 3rd Army Chief of Training, Exercises, and Simulations, as the Futures Director at Fort Leavenworth, and as instructor for Senior Advanced Leadership Tactics. From 2011 – 2012, he deployed to Afghanistan as an Advisor to the Minister of the Interior.
In this interview, he discusses his experiences as a Soldier, having enlisted under the “Simultaneous Membership Program” while he was an ROTC Cadet. He talks about his various assignments and training opportunities. He describes his leadership philosophy, and how he learned and mentored at various levels. Finally, he reflects on what his service means to him.