Michael L. Birnbaum is a combat veteran who served in Vietnam from November 1967 to January 1969. In 1973 he joined the South Dakota Army National Guard and on February 1, 2001, became the fifth State Command Sergeant Major of the South Dakota National Guard serving as the Adjutant Generalís personal advisor on all enlisted matters with special emphasis on soldier issues and training. He served in that capacity until his retirement on March 1, 2006.
During his years of service Michael has been given many military decorations and Medals. In 2010 he was awarded the Williamson Militiaman Award.
Michael is a lifelong resident of Rapid City and has been married to his wife Sarah for more than forty years. After graduating from high school he attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for two years. His college education was suspended while he served in Vietnam. After returning, he graduated from Black Hills State College in 1971 with a Bachelorís degree in Business Administration.
Michael is a member of the VFW, American Legion, DAV, the IAVA, and the South Dakota National Guard Enlisted association.
Since his retirement, Michael has served on and chaired the Governorís Veterans Commission, has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors for STARBASE and has also served on the Board of Directors for the Minuteman Federal Credit Union for 10 years. He is a regular visitor at the State Veteranís Home where he visits with many of the residents and volunteers each year to help make their Christmas party a success. He has a wonderful ability to seek out veterans on the street, listen to their concerns, and then direct them to the appropriate agency for assistance. Mike exemplifies the spirit of the citizen soldier as is evident by his community service, support of the National Guard, and defense of our country.
(Thanks to Mayor Sam Kooiker and the Rapid City Council)
Mike especially remembers Christmas holidays far from home while serving in the US Army's 9th Infantry Division: