August 20, 2007

Tschudi always knew he wanted to try the military

By Karrah Anderson
Staff Writer

Many of us feel the call to live for something that extends beyond our own lives, that opens doors, and expands our understanding of life as we know it – especially when growing up in a small town.

Sergeant Michael Tschudi was raised in rural Delano, graduated from high school in 1990, and began the quest most begin when they receive their diploma.

He tried college, but decided he wasn’t ready, then ventured off into the work force for a year. In the back of his mind, he knew he wanted something more, and found the military to be the right path.

“I knew I always wanted to do it,” Tschudi explained. “I didn’t want to look back when I was 40 or 50 and kick myself in the butt for not enlisting.”

Tschudi has never regretted his decision to enlist in 1994 in the active Army. He is an indefinite enlistment, and can retire after 20 years in 2014.

Vilseck, Germany is where he and his wife, Jessica, have called home for the past seven months, but Iraq is where Michael will call home for the next year or so. Michael left on his 15-month deployment Aug. 7 – one that he feels very prepared for.

“We’ve been training for the past three months for deployment,” Tschudi explained. “We practiced our shooting, live fires, that sort of thing.”

Tschudi will stop in Kuwait before entering Iraq. While in Kuwait, he will receive more shots and become acclimated to the weather and culture of Iraq, which is a big change from Germany.

In Iraq, Tschudi, who is a part of the Second Stripe Calvary Regime, a new unit, will be running convoys, which is the transportation of specific goods (ammo, food, supplies, etc.) between different bases.

The unit will have the opportunity to use the new trucks they have been training with. The trucks were designed to be more stable and repellent of dangerous weapons that are known to penetrate the metal vehicles presently being used in Iraq.

“We’ve been training on them, they are designed to be much safer,” Tschudi said.

In Germany, Tschudi was a squad leader for 10 people, who were all in charge of moving ammunition and supplies.

His wife plays an important role, as well. She is a group leader for a support group for families of troops. She hosts get-togethers, BBQs, and other intimate events to bring families together to talk and share good times with each other.

Tschudi and his wife were able to visit Delano in July for a couple of weeks. While they were home, they made a point to visit their friends and family and to kick back, relax, and eliminate a busy schedule.

“We went to the cabin up in Annandale, which was kinda nice,” Tschudi recalled. “It was funny because Minnesota was so hot and sunny, in the 80s and 90s, and when we got back to Germany, it was 60s and 70s and rainy. Germany is usually similar weather to Minnesota, so that was nice.”

December was the last time he was in the states. He spent 2001-2006 recruiting for the army, based in Minneapolis. His commitment to recruitment laws allowed him to receive a Gold Recruiting Badge.

“People think you get more money when you recruit people, but it’s a point system,” Tschudi explained. “It starts out at silver, then gold, then sapphire – so I’m at the next ring of achievement.”

His achievements do not end there. Michael has received six Army achievement medals, which has recognized his accomplishments along the way during his service to the military.

After deployment, Tschudi has one more year left in Germany, where his wife will be living during his deployment, and then it’s back to the States.

The Army has changed his life for the better. Michael doesn’t know what the future will bring for him, but so far, he has enjoyed the ride.

“Who knows what would have happened if I just stayed in Delano? I mean, I’m already traveling at a young age, then I get to retire pretty young, and made lots of money tax- free,” Tschudi finished with a laugh.

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