#VeteranOfTheDay Air Force Veteran Matt Carroll



Matt Carroll is today's Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran Matt Carroll, who served 25 years in the Air Force and now works as a National Park Service superintendent.

The National Park Service Organic Act of Aug. 25, 1916, created a new service under the Department of Interior. In honor of Founders Day, today’s Veteran of the Day is a member of the 103-year-old organization.

Matt Carroll, a New Jersey native, graduated high school and left for the University of Arizona in 1985. He started as an aerospace engineer student on an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship. Carroll chose the Air Force to pursue the space program, in part inspired by the movie The Right Stuff.

The journey to space started out at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, in 1989. Carroll spent four years there as a missile launch officer. Through the years, Carroll had several other stops: missile instructor at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; teacher at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; staff officer at Air Force Space Command Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; staff officer in the Pentagon; and six months monitoring peace on a United Nations mission in Africa, working alongside Russian and Chinese military officers.

Carroll said two memories stuck out.

While on a year assignment to Thule Air Base, Greenland, Carroll was one of only a hundred U.S. Airmen deployed to the northernmost U.S. outpost.

“Most people think that Thule is not a garden spot, but there’s a unique beauty to the Arctic,” Carroll said. “We were removed from society for a year. People focused on the mission. We bonded as a group.”

Tragedy and transition

One of those bonding moments came on 9/11, as Airmen crowded around televisions to watch the tragedy unfold.

Carroll said another significant moment was his last job in the Air Force, finally working in space. While still in training as the safety officer, his team had to detonate a faulty intercontinental ballistic missile just after launch. Within a couple hours, he was explaining to national press the safety reasons for destroying the missile.

Carroll said his time in the military helped him transition in 2014 to the National Park Service for two reasons. The first reason was his experience in operations and how to make timely decisions regarding people, budget and policy. The second reason was his passion, which was volunteering in the outdoors. His love of camping and hiking morphed into volunteering off-duty for land agencies, which led him to the National Park Service, where he serves as superintendent of Greenbelt Park and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

“I work for an agency with a mission I believe in,” Carroll said. “It was a natural evolution to what I loved to do. Like the military, we are focused on service, doing the mission and doing it successfully. We have a responsibility to the American people—our ultimate customer.”

Thank you for your service!


For Veterans who are looking for a respite to get away from day-to-day issues, the National Park Service offers free passes for active duty military and disabled Veterans.

To learn more about the National Park Service’s work with the military, visit American Military website.

Author

Adam Stump

Adam Stump is a public affairs specialist with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is a retired Air Force Veteran who served 20 years, including two deployments to Afghanistan for detention operations and special operations.

Comments

  1. ANALE YOUNG    

    Awesome Highlight on an awesome co-worker. Well deserved for someone so well-rounded and invested in preserving an protecting our Nation on many levels.

  2. Noel Rivera    

    I Noel want to request that the budget for the Disable Veteran 100 % can be increased with the purpose to provide the option to elect a closer medical facility without the worry or burden that the bill won’t be a factor later on because it’s not authorized due to service connected medical issues since the Choice Program/Program Choice became a failure medical program where Billions of dollars that was appropriated became wash out and it purpose was defeated not leaving the 100% or Total Permanent Disable.Veteran without the choice or option of going to more nearest or trusted medical facility. Please help to enact this vote go through to benefit our Vetrrans who deserve experdie treatment and that can meet sooner medical appointments instead of going through the waiting process. Thx.

  3. Robert Bostic    

    Thank you for your service – Matt Carroll.

  4. Arnold Cabral    

    Whoever read this can you please email your Senators or Representative contract Veterans Affairs Committee raise the Budget of Veterans Health Care so Disabled Veterans who is percent 100 percent service connected get the choice of Medical Centers to choose from?

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