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A native of upstate New York, Carmichael graduated from Colby College (Waterville, ME) and was commissioned through Air Force ROTC. His first assignment was to Webb AFB, Texas to attend U.S. Air Force pilot training. Upon award of his wings he began training on the B-52D Stratofortress at Carswell AFB, Texas with a follow-on operational assignment to Dyess AFB, Texas.
At Dyess, he served in a number of operational positions and was an instructor pilot in the B-52.
Following the assignment at Dyess, he applied for and upon completion of a rigorous interview and flight evaluation process was accepted to be part of the U-2 program at Beale AFB, California. From Beale he deployed worldwide to fly operational U-2 reconnaissance missions. He was an instructor pilot in both the U-2 and T-38 aircraft.
After graduation from Armed Forces Staff College he was assigned to the operations staff at the United States Pacific Command in Hawaii where he was part of the joint reconnaissance center responsible for all reconnaissance operations in the Pacific theater.
Returning to operational flying at Beale AFB, he requalified in the U-2 and T-38 was deployed as part of Operation Desert Shield as the Operations Officer of the U-2 squadron at Taif, Saudi Arabia. He later commanded the squadron during Desert Storm and the continuing reconnaissance operations after the cessation of hostilities.
Re-deployed to Beale, he was the Operations Officer and then Commander of the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron. As commander, he led the 375-person operational U-2 squadron with worldwide reconnaissance responsibilities.
Upon completion of the command assignment he was named the Director of the Manned Airborne Reconnaissance Division of the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon followed by an assignment as a student at Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Upon graduation he was assigned to Headquarters Allied Forces Baltic Approaches (NATO) in Karup, Denmark as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, Policy and Intelligence.
Retiring from the Air Force after a 24-year career, he joined L-3 Communications (now L3 Technologies) in Salt Lake City as a manager, director and vice president. In these capacities he was responsible for a wide variety of ground, airborne and space-borne communications programs in support of manned and unmanned aircraft and satellites. He retired from L3 in 2017, after a 19-year career.
Col. Carmichael has over 4,500 flying hours in T-37, T-38, B-52 and U-2 aircraft.