LTC Edward C. Croot
Lieutenant Colonel Croot was born and raised in New Jersey and was commissioned as an Infantry Second Lieutenant into the United States Army on 2 August, 1995. After completing the Basic Infantry Officer Course, Airborne School, Ranger School, and Pathfinder Course at Fort Benning, GA from 1995-1997, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany. As a Rifle Platoon Leader, Scout Platoon Leader, and Brigade Assistant Operations Officer he deployed for operations in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Kosovo.
Upon promotion to Captain in 1999, he attended the Special Forces Qualification Course from 2000-2001 and was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) Fort Bragg, North Carolina. From 2002-2006 he served as a Detachment Commander, Battalion Assistant S3, Battalion S4, and a Headquarters Support Company Commander during the Invasion of Iraq and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, two combat tours in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, an operational tour in the US Embassy Sanaa, Yemen, and a Joint Combined Exercise for Training in Lusaka, Zambia.
Upon promotion to Major, Lieutenant Colonel Croot attended the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) and School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas from 2006-2008.
After graduation from SAMS, he was again assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) from 2009-2011 where he served as a Company Commander, Battalion S3, and Group S3 for two combat tours in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and support to operations in Pakistan.
Lieutenant Colonel Croot was most recently assigned to Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC), Camp Smith, Hawaii. From 2012-2013 he served as the Pacific Command’s Counter-Terrorism Advisor to the Ambassador in the US Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh. From 2013 until the present, he served as the SOCPAC SOJ35 Future Operations Director, the SOCPAC Commander’s Action Group Director, and the SOCPAC Commander’s Executive Officer.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (with “V” Device for Valor and 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Achievement Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, and Special Forces Tab.
Lieutenant Colonel Croot holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business from the University of Pittsburgh, a Masters of Science in Education from Kansas State University, and a Masters of Military Art and Science in Theater Operations from the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
Command Sergeant Major
CSM Michael T. Zaring
CSM Michael T. Zaring entered the U. S. Army on 26 January, 1990 from Bonner Springs Kansas. He attended Infantry OSUT at Fort Benning, GA. His first assignment was with the 1/12th Infantry Battalion, Fort Carson, Colorado, where he served as an Indirect Fire Infantryman, and Fire Direction Center Check Computer. His next unit of assignment was with the 1/72nd Armor Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Camp Casey, Korea, where he served as both a Squad Leader and Chief Computer in the Fire Direction Center.
After attending Airborne School in July of 1992 he was next assigned to the 1/187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) Fort Campbell, KY. While assigned there, he served as a Squad Leader and Fire Direction Center Chief. He was reassigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT), Fort Campbell, KY where he served as a Demonstration Parachutist for the 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) “Screaming Eagles” Division Parachute Team.
His next assignment took him to the U. S. Army Recruiting Command where he was assigned to the Greater Kansas City Recruiting Company, Kansas City Recruiting Battalion. During this tour he served as a detailed recruiter. He was then assigned as a limited production Station Commander in the Overland Park Recruiting Company, Kansas City Recruiting Battalion.
Upon completion of this tour, CSM Zaring was assigned to the Special Forces Recruiting Team Fort Lewis Washington where he served as a Special Forces Recruiter. His next assignment was with the Special Forces Recruiting Station in Heidelberg Germany where he served as a Special Forces Recruiter and Station Commander. He was then assigned to Fort Riley Kansas where he stood up the Fort Riley Special Forces Recruiting Station.
From 21 June 2007 to 9 April 2010, CSM Zaring served as the “first” Company First Sergeant for the Kansas City Medical Recruiting Company, 5th Medical Recruiting Battalion, Fort Sam Houston TX. CSM Zaring then served as the First Sergeant for Company C, Special Operations Recruiting Battalion, Fort Lewis WA from 10 April 2010 to 2 August 2012. During this tour he was assigned as the NCOIC for the Battalions Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan attached to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force. He was then selected for and graduated from Class 63 of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy in 2013.
He has earned numerous accolades throughout his career. Some of these include recognition as the Distinguished Honor Graduate and Leadership Award from the Senior Leaders Course, and recognition as The Medical Recruiting Brigade First Sergeant of the Year Fiscal Year 2009.
His military education includes the Warrior Leader Course, Advance Leaders Course, Senior Leader Course, First Sergeants Course, and Sergeants Major Academy as well as Airborne School and Air Assault School. He is also a graduate of the Recruiter Course and Station Commander Course.
His awards and decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Meritorious Service Medal (3rd award), the Army Commendation Medal (5th award), the Army Achievement Medal (1st Award), and the NATO Medal. He has also earned the Drivers Badge Track and Wheeled, Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Recruiter Identification Badge, as well as the Recruiter Ring and the Glenn E. Morrell award.
CSM Zaring holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science from Upper Iowa University and a Masters in Business Administration from Touro University International.