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Episode 18

Lt. Col. Michelle Macander

Episode 18 – Lt. Col. Michelle Macander – Courage, Cocktail Napkins and Something Blue  
TRP Host Michael Gannon sits down with Lt. Col. Michelle Macander. They talk about what it’s really like to be, “the first” and Marine life after the repeal of the, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. This episode was recorded on April 22, 2021.   


LIEUTENANT COLONEL MACANDER is from Clifton Park, NY and earned a Bachelor's of Science in International Affairs from Georgia Tech in December of 2000. Following TBS and Marine Corps Engineer School (MCES), where she was the honor graduate, she was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 372 in Camp Pendleton, CA. She served as the Construction Platoon Commander, Engineer Company Executive Officer, and Headquarters & Service (H&S) Company Commander, and participated in the initial movement into Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I in 2003. 

In July 2004, Lieutenant Colonel Macander was transferred to 9th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) in Okinawa, Japan and deployed as the liaison to the FBI in Iraq, then returned to Okinawa and served concurrently as the H&S Company Commander and the Logistics Officer. Lieutenant Colonel Macander subsequently reported to the University of Colorado NROTC, where she served as the Marine Officer Instructor. 

In 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Macander was ordered to Quantico, VA to complete Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS).  Upon graduation, she was assigned to 8th ESB, where she served as Operations Officer and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Following the deployment, she was assigned as the Engineer Support Company Commander. In May 2012, she received orders to MCES, where she assumed command of Combat Engineer Instruction Company, then was assigned to serve concurrently as the Director of Instruction and Operations Officer. 

In June 2014, she reported to EWS as a Faculty Advisor. In her second year, she filled an individual augment assignment to serve as Central Command's Counter-Narcotics Officer in Charge (Forward) in Kabul, Afghanistan. She returned to her primary duties at EWS before transferring in July 2017 to I MEF to serve as the MEF Engineer. In October 2017, she was promoted to her current rank. 

Lieutenant Colonel Macander's personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with one Gold Star, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Gold Star and combat distinguishing device, and the Combat Action Ribbon. 

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Tags: NPS, The Naval Postgraduate School, military education, The Trident Room Podcast, podcast, The Department of Defense, US Navy, DoD, PhD, Army, USMC, female commander, accomplishments, US Air Force, Marine Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Macander, Bachelors of Science in International Affairs, Camp Pendelton, podcast interview, stout conversation, cancel culture, courage, cocktail napkins, The United States of America, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, (ESB), Marine Officer Instructor, Clifton Park, New York, otherizing, publicity, female, don’t ask don’t tell, repeal, LBGTQ+, Quantico, Afghanistan, Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom I, Okinawa, Japan, Central Command's Counter-Narcotics Officer, engineering, engineer school, military engineering, interview, Gold Star, the first, inclusion, combat, group combat, DADT  

Views expressed in this interview are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the US Navy, or the Naval Postgraduate School.