Michael Schoenfeld was born in Ogden, Utah and was raised in Roy, Utah. His interest in the Marine Corps Reserves stemmed from his father’s thirty year service in the Marine Corps Reserve. He joined in 1986. He describes his boot camp experience where he was in charge of taking care of records for the drill instructors. After boot camp he returned to Fox Company at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City and became a rifleman in 1st Platoon for about three months. Then he went on an LDS mission to Norway. After returning he spent two and a half years in the scout sniper platoon. During that time he was mobilized for Desert Storm in Okinawa, Japan.
After the military started the drawdown Michael went from being a fire team leader to being a squad leader and then platoon sergeant as a petty officer, a position he held from ’91 to ’97. He talks about applying for the Reserve Enlisted Commissioning Program. He went through the program with a stress fracture in his left ankle. After rehabilitating his ankle for about four months he got into the basic school and graduated seventh out of his class. He then returned to Fox Company at Fort Douglas and became the OIC.
His company was mobilized in December 2001 to be part of a quick reaction force for everything west of the Mississippi in the US. Michael describes the training they went through while there. After about a year they were mobilized to Iraq. Michael describes arriving in Kuwait and preparing for the invasion of Iraq and driving through Kuwait and Iraq. He first saw fighting in An Nasiriyah. His platoon helped rescue an artillery battery captain and his security detail who were under fire and were involved in a battle in Al Gharraf. Michael then talks about incidents that happened near Al Fajr. First a civilian was killed while trying to get past their barricades and then a group of snipers was stuck in a firefight in the town. A Humvee that was driving to rescue the snipers accidentally drove over a fighting hole, killing a staff sergeant.
Michael provides details about an event in which a Humvee, while speeding to extract a group of snipers from a gunfight, accidentally hit a staff sergeant and captain, killing the staff sergeant and badly injuring the captain. He talks about what they did after this and their lack of supplies at the time. The battalion then went into the town, Al Fajr, to clear it out and Michael describes the process. He talks about the movement towards Baghdad. Their first orders in Baghdad were to clear out Saddam City, a slum built to house the Jews, Christians, and Shiite Muslims. He describes the process of moving through the section of the city on foot, the difficulty with communication, and interacting with the Iraqi civilians. Eventually they started taking fire and the firefight lasted for about eight hours.
After this battle, they assaulted a Ba’ath Party headquarters and cleared a secret police headquarters. Then they took the UN building where they set up for a few days. For the most part, although there were tense situations, the fighting ended. They then went to Al Diwahiyah to transition out of Iraq, which Michael describes as a miserable time. He was sent home about a month later. After moving up to the company XO he became the scout sniper platoon commander for his battalion. Then he went to Central Command and was eventually sent to Tampa, Florida where he worked for a branch that had oversight of military detainee operations.