Battlefield Fallujah Warriors: Colonel Michael "Mike" Shupp, USMC

Commander, Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1)

Episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12
Interviewer: Lieutenant Colonel John Way
Camp Fallujah, Iraq - March 27, 2005
Courtesy of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Marine Corps History Division


Colonel Shupp (retired 2008) was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He completed the Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1979 and the Marine Officers' Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia, in 1980. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant upon his graduation from VMI and entered the Marine Corps in May of 1981. He completed the Marine Officers' Basic School and the Assault Amphibian Vehicle Officers' Course in 1981.

His first assignment was to Company "A", First Tracked Vehicle Battalion, Third Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan as a platoon commander and later as the Battalion S-4A. He subsequently served as the aide-de-camp for the Assistant Division Commander of the Third Marine Division.

In 1983, he joined the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, where he served in the Recruit Training Regiment as a Recruit Series Officer, Company Executive Officer, and as the Assistant Director of Drill Instructor School.

In 1985, he reported to the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, for duty as the Southeast Regional Director of Candidate Affairs, Midshipmen Leadership Instructor, Brigade Drill and Ceremonies Officer, and as the Commanding Officer of the Ninth Company of the Brigade of Midshipmen. He was recognized for his performance of duties by President Bush, Secretary of the Navy Webb, and selected by the Brigade of Midshipmen as an Honorary Graduate of the Naval Academy Class of 1989.

In 1989, he completed the Advanced Armor Officers' Course and the Cavalry Leaders' Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He reported to the 1st Light Armored Infantry Battalion for duty as the Battalion S-3A, Commanding Officer of Company "A", Commanding Officer of Headquarters and Service Company, and as the Battalion's Operations Officer. In 1990, Captain Shupp deployed Company "A" to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm for operations against the Iraqi forces. Once the ground war started, Company "A" led the advance of the First Marine Division; cutting through Iraqi resistance, leading the first Coalition forces into Kuwait City, and participating in the Capture of the Kuwait International Airport. Upon returning to the United States and while serving as the Operations Officer, he formed the first Light Armored Air Contingency Force and deployed the Battalion to the riots of Los Angeles to restore peace and order.

In 1992, he was assigned to the Office of the Program Manager - Light Armored Vehicles as the Operations Officer and Assistant Program Manager for International Programs. In this assignment, he managed the foreign military sale of over 1,100 light armored vehicles to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He completed the Security Assistance Management Course at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Program Manager's Course at Ft Belvoir, Virginia.

In 1997, Major Shupp was assigned as an operational planner for the II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. During this tour, he was the lead planner for the annual MEF deployments to Norway and played an instrumental role in the deployment of disaster relief forces to Central America. He deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1998 as the Plans Officer for Two Six MEU (SOC) for Operation Dynamic Response and in 1999, deployed to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe as the Marine Corps’ ground war planner to the Assessment Planning Team for Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on July 1, 1998.

In 1999, he assumed command of the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion at the MAGTF-Training Command, Twentynine Palms. He deployed the Battalion to Egypt on Operation Bright Star ’00 as the Ground Combat Element Commander of the Special Purpose MAGTF.        

In June 2001, Lieutenant Colonel Shupp was assigned as the Marine Corps’ Liaison to the House of Representative, Washington, D.C. He was promoted to Colonel on October 1, 2003.

Colonel Shupp assumed command of the 1st Marine Regiment and Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1) on September 15, 2004 at Camp Fallujah, Iraq.

From June 2006 to January 2008, he was Joint Chief of Staff for the Joint IED Defeat Organization. Between January 2008 and September 2008, Colonel Shupp was the Legislative Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Colonel Shupp graduated with distinction from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and attended the second year of military studies at the School of Advanced Warfighting.  He received a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from Webster University and a Master of Arts degree in Military Studies from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Combat "V" Distinguished Device, Meritorious Service Medal with gold stars in lieu of third award, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Colonel Shupp is married, and he and his wife have one daughter. He retired from the Marine Corps in 2008 and is currently Vice President of Van Soyoc Associates.

Source: U.S. Marine Corps History Division