Military Science, ROTC

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Gerald W. Meyer grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin and attended University of Wisconsin-La Crosse from 1970 to 1974 during the final years of the Vietnam War. He was an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Cadet in what was then known as the Indian Battalion his last two years of college. The Indian Battalion was the original name of the Cadet Battalion at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse before it was renamed the Eagle Battalion in 1991. He completed the basic ROTC training course at Fort Knox, Kentucky in the summer of 1972, the Advanced Course at Fort Riley, Kansas in the summer of 1973, was appointed the Cadet Battalion Commander of the Indian Battalion his senior year, and was designated a Distinguished Military Graduate upon graduation from Army ROTC. After graduating in May of 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Art he was commissioned as an Armor Officer. (Then) Second Lieutenant Meyer attended the Armor Officer Basic Couse at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1975. His first assignment was as a Platoon Leader with A Company, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. In 1977 he deployed to Germany for the Redeployment of Forces to Germany (REFORGER) with the Division Headquarters G-1 Staff and was mentored by Col. Neil T. Jaco, who would go on command First Army as a General Officer. Upon his return from Germany, (then) First Lieutenant Meyer was reassigned as the Executive Officer for the 1st Adjutant General Company, 1st Infantry Division and subsequently took command of the company. During his command time the unit received the “Best Company Award” in 1979, recognizing it as the best company in the 1st Infantry Division.

In 1980, after promotion to Captain, he transitioned to the Adjutant General Corps. He left active duty and entered the Kansas Army National Guard where he served as the S-1 for the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery Regiment, 35th Infantry Division in Dodge City, Kansas. In that position he successfully passed the Army Readiness Training Exercise Program (ARTEP) in his command area. After returning to Wisconsin in 1981, (then) Captain Meyer was selected to serve as the Adjutant/ S-1 for the 397th Engineer Battalion, 372nd engineer Brigade in Eau Claire, Wisconsin based on his previous success with ARTEPS. In 1985 the unit successfully passed the three year required Army readiness test. After being selected for Major, he was next assigned to the 88th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) Special Troops Command at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, as the Training and Plans Officer for the new command. During his time here, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm transpired. (Then) Major Meyer was directed to fix the readiness for the 360th Psychology Company in order to prepare it for deployment to the Middle East. He completed his task in record time, prepared the unit for deployment, and was awarded the Army Accommodation Medal for his efforts. Following multiple assignments with the 88th ARCOM in the G-1 Personnel and G-3 Operations Sections he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1994. At the time a new battalion was being developed by Army Reserve Force Structure at Fort Snelling, the 847th Personnel Services Battalion. Lieutenant Colonel Meyer was selected to command this new organization, headquartered in Minnesota and containing units in Ohio and Michigan.

After two years of successful battalion command from 1997 to 1999, he was promoted to Colonel in 1999 and was selected by the Army Reserve Command to command the 7th Brigade, 84th Division, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Colonel Meyer served as a Brigade Commander from 1999 to 2001. During this time he was also selected for the prestigious U.S. Army War College from which he graduated in 2002. Following graduation, Colonel Meyer was assigned to the 416th Engineer Command in Darien, Illinois as the Command G-1. The Unit deployed to Kuwait later in 2002 for the Operation Optimal Focus Exercise, in order to develop Operations Plan 1003V, the Invasion of Iraq. During Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF 1) Colonel Meyer oversaw all administrative actions for 3000 Soldiers in a composite Command of Engineers from the Army Reserves, West Virginia Army National Guard, and active duty 18th Engineer Brigade. Because of his experience as a Captain with ARTEPS and S-1 actions in the 397th Engineer Battalion, his acumen to blend and consolidate the composite requirements for administrative readiness was successful for the 416th Engineer Command Composite.

Following OIF 1, Colonel Meyer retired in 2004 after 32 years of military service to the United States of America. In 2016 he was awarded the Army Engineer Regiment Bronze Medal for outstanding service to the Engineer Corps during OIF 1. After retiring from the Army Reserves, Colonel Meyer was appointed by the Chief of the Army Reserves as an Army Reserve Ambassador. In that capacity he develops awareness and advocacy by educating the public, community leaders, and congressional staff offices about the capabilities and value of the Army Reserves and its Soldiers.

Colonel Myer’s military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, the National Defense Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Silver Hourglass, Bronze Mobilization Device, and Bronze Numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Overseas Service Ribbon, and the 416th Engineer Command Combat Service Identification Badge.