Sunday, November 7, 2021

The 44-Year Military Career of Master Sgt. Mark McDaniel

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


Master Sergeant Mark McDaniel's career in the Ga. ARNG began in Co A, 1-108th Armor and concluded with a ceremony
at the Clay National Guard Center Nov. 6, 2021.

Family, friends and fellow service members of Master Sgt. Mark McDaniel gathered in the drill hall of the Clay National Guard Center to celebrate his nearly 45-year career during a retirement ceremony Nov. 6, 2021.

McDaniel enlisted in the United States Army Dec. 14, 1976. He completed initial training as a track vehicle repairer and was assigned to duty stations at Fort Riley and Manheim, Germany.

Leaving the Army in 1981, McDaniel enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard and was assigned to Company A, 108th Armor Regiment in Rome, Ga. He was employed fulltime as a mechanic at Field Maintenance Shop Calhoun where he would remain form more than 40 years rising to the position of shop supervisor.

Field Maintenance Shop Calhoun in 2017. Photo by Capt. William Carraway

McDaniel was mobilized with the 48th Brigade in response to Desert Storm., In recognition of outstanding performance of duty McDaniel was recognized with the Army Commendation Medal. In 1993 while assigned as a maintenance supervisor with Company A, McDaniel was ordered to state active duty in response to a severe winter storm which impacted north Georgia. Through his efforts, the unit established an operation center at Floyd Medical Center to coordinate with medical and law enforcement officials.

Transferring to Company B, 1-108th in 1999, McDaniel was again mobilized from March to October 2001 as part of the Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. While stationed at Camp Comanche near Tuzla Bosnia, McDaniel, as battalion maintenance sergeant, supervised a maintenance section of 44 Soldiers responsible for more than 300 pieces of rolling stock. Upon his return to Georgia, McDaniel transferred to the Calhoun-based Headquarters Company, 1-108th Armor. By 2004, McDaniel was the recognized maintenance expert in the battalion and received the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his leadership and technical skill in keeping battalion assets fully mission capable during the annual training and G8 conference, both conducted in 2004.

McDaniel kept the 1-108th Armor rolling from Bosnia to Iraq. 
McDaniel deployed to Iraq with the 108th Armor in 2005. On June 26, 2005, a fire erupted on FOB Mahmudiyah where the 108th was stationed. McDaniel rushed to the scene and entered the structure going room to smoke-filled-room to ensure all personnel had evacuated. Upon determining that all personnel were safe, McDaniel, realizing that the fire threatened supplies and ammunition stores, mounted a forklift began transporting storage containers away from the conflagration. Through his example, other Soldiers joined in the effort using an M88 recovery vehicle and M1923 five-ton truck to move more than 20 large military storage containers away from the approaching flames. For his actions, McDaniel was recognized with an Army Commendation Medal with V Device.

Achieving the rank of master sergeant in 2007, McDaniel was appointed 1st Sgt. of Company D, 148th Brigade Support Battalion and deployed with the company to Afghanistan from 2009-2010 in support of Task Force 108. For his service as the security forces first sergeant for Task Force 108th at Camp Blackhorse near Kabul, McDaniel was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

From 2013 to 2017 McDaniel served as first sergeant of Headquarters Company 148th

BSB in Macon, Ga. McDaniel ultimately served as a company first sergeant for a combined nine years and received his third Meritorious Service Medal in recognition for services rendered as first sergeant.

In his final assignment with the Georgia Army National Guard, McDaniel served as part of the maintenance assistance and instruction team passing along the knowledge he accrued over four decades of service. In recognition of his contributions to the Georgia Army National Guard, Col. Roger Dillard, deputy chief of staff for logistics, presented McDaniel with the Legion of Merit. The award was followed by presentation of gifts from long-time colleagues and friends in the maintenance, logistics, transportation and ordnance fields.

In his farewell remarks, McDaniel acknowledged service members who had influenced him over the years and expressed gratitude for the gifts before presenting one of his own. Calling on Harriet Morgan, Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation, McDaniel extolled the work of the organization in helping Soldiers and Airmen of the organization in times of crisis. As a final gesture to an organization to which he had given nearly 45 years of service, McDaniel presented the FSF with a contribution thanking Morgan for the efforts of the FSF in helping Soldiers and Airmen.

“It was the E-4s and below got me where I am,” said McDaniel. “When they became E-5s and E-6s, they got the job done. These are the Soldiers that make you what you are. They make you or break you.”

1 comment:

  1. ¡Talk about an unsung hero! If the wheels do not roll, war will exert a heavier tool.


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