Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Colonel Mike Applegate

Mike Applegate grew up in Toms River and attended a number of the Toms River Regional Schools. He attended East Dover Elementary, Washington Street Elementary, Walnut Street Elementary,Toms River Intermediate (now Intermediate East), Toms River High School (now High School South), and finally graduatedfrom Toms River High School North in 1972. Hewas well respected as a student and athlete. He was the captain of the high school football team as well as the wrestling team. Mike thought highly of the education he garnered in Toms River as expressed in the following excerpt he himself wrote. "Second only to my family, the Toms River school system had the strongest influence on the development of my character. Memories of the guidance, support, direction, and care provided by countless teachers and administrators are with me daily. It was always apparent that they had only my best interest at heart. I learned right from wrong and how to think at their hands. I had some favorites, but more importantly, I never had less than a great teacher in Toms River."

Mike was accepted at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and became the starting fullback on the football team. He studied history and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree as well as a commissionas a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 1976. Rounding out his education, Mike earned a Master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies as a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1993. He also graduated from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1996.

The time between earning a BA in 1976 and a Masters in 1993 was spent in a military career serving our country. Michael Applegate was first assigned to the amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) specialty. This was a 26 ton armored, fully tracked, amphibious personnel carrier used to transport Marines from U.S. Navy amphibious ships to shore during amphibious assaults, and subsequentlyused inland as an armored fighting vehicle. Each AAV carries 18 combat equipped marines, is extremely rugged as well as versatile in that it can traverse practically any terrain on land and maneuver in an ocean's plunging surf up to ten feet in height.

Mike's first tour was with the 2d Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He served with company A, 2d Assault Amphibian Battalion as a platoon commander and company executive officer respectively. An AAV platoon is attached to a marine infantry company to provide armor protected mobility and increased firepower to otherwise lightly armed and foot-mobile marine infantry. Mike's platoon consisted of 12 AAV's and 40 enlisted marines. In two years time Mike's platoon participated in numerous training exercises in West Germany and Turkey for multinational NATO exercises. Not only did Mike act as a platoon commander, he also was the executive officer for company A's 200 marines and 47 AAV's. Experience in personnel administration, logistics, maintenance, and battalion staff coordination were gained, then utilized for a new assignment. In March 1980, Mike was transferred to the 3d Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan, as a First Lieutenant. Duties fulfilled at this assignmentwere division re-enlistment issues, drug and alcohol abuse therapy, relationships with the local Japanese Government and civilians and command of the 3d Marine Division Honor Guard that participated in ceremonies for visiting VIP's.

Mike was then transferred in March 1981 back to 2d Marine Division and served as a commanding officer of Headquarters & Service Company and then Company B, 2d Assault Amphibian Battalion. Company B was a true war fighting company consisting of 200 marines and 47 AAV's. Mike was nominated for the Marine Corps Leftwich Trophy, an annual Marine Corps competition for outstanding leadership in the rank of Captain. In July of 1983, Captain Applegate was transferred to headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., as a monitor in the Enlisted Assignment Branch, Manpower Division, and in July of 1986, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Virginia. These assignments gave Mike experience in assignment of personnel as a monitor and then in teaching as an armor, mechanized infantry, and light armored infantry instructor.

Major Applegate was then transferred to the 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center as commanding officer of Company D 3d Assault Amphibian Battalion. During this tour Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the 7th MEB was the first Marine unit to deploy to Saudi Arabia. Mike's AAV company was further reinforced until it reached 65 AAV's and mechanized an infantry battalion in Task Force Ripper, the 1st Marine Division's point unit and main effort during the ground war in Kuwait. The unit did its job in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and then went home.

Following a year at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Mike was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to the 2d Marine Division in 1993. This assignment was the command of the 2d Assault Amphibian Battalion, which numbered more than 900 Marines, 215 AAVS and 75 wheeled vehicles. Then Mike spent time at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, followed by a transfer in 1996 to Tampa, Florida, and assignment to the U.S. Central Command. Mike was assigned to the joint and combined exercise branch of the J3 Operations Division. He was responsible for planning and coordinating the military exercises among all four U.S. military services and the military forces of Egypt, Jordan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Pakistan, Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Krygistan and Turkmenistan in more than 30 annual exercises.

Colonel Applegate was transferred to the Pentagon in 1998 to serve in the U.S. Navy's senior staff as the Executive Assistant to the Director of the Expeditionary Warfare Division. Today Colonel Applegate has assumed command of the Security Battalion at Quantico, Virginia. He is married to the former Doris Richard of South Whitley, Indiana, and has two children, Mike (14) and Emily (10).

Mike's personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with gold star, the Navy Marine Achievement Medal with gold star, and the Combat Action Ribbon.

We are proud to honor Colonel Mike Applegate as we induct him into the Toms River Schools Hall of Fame.


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