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Bryant appoints Michel director of the MEMA

Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed retired Col. Gregory S. Michel director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

Michel takes over for J.W. Ledbetter, Gov. Bryant’s senior criminal justice policy adviser, who has overseen MEMA operations since last month, when former director Lee Smithson resigned.

Michel was Commander, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Hattiesburg, until last fall. He served in that role from 2015-2017. Michel began his military career in February 1988, when he enlisted into the Mississippi Army National Guard with the 1-155th Infantry Battalion as a Combat Medical Specialist in his hometown of McComb. He was commissioned as an Infantry Officer through the Army ROTC program at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1991. He spent his first 10 years as a traditional guardsman where he mobilized in support of Operation Desert Storm and completed three rotations through the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, Calif.

In May of 1998, Michel entered active duty with the National Guard. In 2004, he deployed to Iraq with the 1-155th Infantry Battalion as the Battalion Executive Officer serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and numerous others.

Michel earned a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1992, a master’s degree from Touro University in 1994 and an additional master’s from the U.S. Army War College in 2016.

He served as president of the National Guard Association of Mississippi in 2014-2015. He has served as regional chairman of the Training Center Commander’s Advisory Council since 2015. Michel is a 2013 graduate of Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership Mississippi and is past chairman of the American Heart Association’s Forrest-Lamar County Heart Walk. He has served as board advisor of the Better Life Foundation since 2011.

Michel and his wife, Rachel, live in Ridgeland. They have one daughter, Anna Morgan.

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