Lieutenant Colonel Michael E. Gates
Lt. Col. Michael E. Gates was raised in Botetourt County, Virginia. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in International Relations and was commissioned in the Infantry branch.
His first assignment was in the 1st Infantry Division in Vilseck, Germany, where he served in various leadership roles including Infantry Platoon Leader, Reconnaissance Platoon Leader in Gnjilane, Kosovo, Company Executive Officer, and the Forward Headquarters Company Commander for Task Force 1-63rd Armor in Kirkuk, Iraq.
Upon transitioning to Special Forces, Lt. Col. Gates was assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Boeblingen, Germany in 2006, where he served as a Detachment Commander in Afghanistan and participated in numerous partnership engagements with NATO Special Operations elements. He later served as the Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, United States Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 2011 he returned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Carson, Colorado, where he served in a variety of roles including Commander of Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 10th SFG(A), Battalion Operations Officer for 4th Battalion, 10th SFG(A), and the Chief of Operations for Special Operations Command and Control Element- Horn of Africa in Djibouti. Upon return to Fort Carson, Lt. Col. Gates served as the Group Operations Officer for the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
Lt. Col. Gates’ joint assignments include service at Special Operations Command – Africa in Stuttgart, Germany from 2014 to 2018. During his tenure at SOCAFRICA he served as the Executive Officer to the Commanding General, the Future Operations Branch Chief for North and West Africa, and the Chief of Current Operations.
His military schooling includes the Special Forces Qualification Course, Ranger School, Airborne School, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, Scout Leader Course, Bradley Leader Course, Mountain Warfare School, Infantry Officer Basic Course, and the Infantry Officer Career Course. He is a graduate of the Naval War College, the Joint Forces Staff College, and holds a Master’s Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Lt. Col. Gates’ awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab.