Colonel, United States Marine Corps



Colonel Michael R. Stahlman graduated from the Marine Military School, a college preparatory school, in Harlingen, Texas, in 1981. He was a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he majored in political science, was assigned to the 13th Company, and graduated with distinction, according to a spokeswoman at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

He was then commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and completed the Basic School at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.  Colonel Stahlman also completed Naval Flight officer training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, and F-4 specific flight training at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas.


Then, Colonel Stahlman's career took a turn and he became increasingly involved in the legal aspects of the United States Marines. Along the way he became parachute qualified and as a result, his uniform bears both the wings of a Naval Aviator, and the jump wings synonymous with the legendary Marine Corps Force Recon Battalions. Those two areas, aviation and infantry, could not be any farther apart in the Marine Corps.

He graduated from California Western School of Law in 1993 with a juris doctorate and was admitted to practice law in California.

Colonel Stahlman also received a masters of law in criminal law from the Judge Advocate General's School in Charlottesville, VA.  He began teaching criminal law at the Judge Advocate General's School in May 2000, and from May 2001 to May 2003 served as vice chairman of the criminal law department there.

Colonel Stahlman was assigned to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at 29 Palms, California, where he served as Staff Judge Advocate and director of Legal Services.  He was promoted to Colonel in 2007.  In 2008, he volunteered for a one-year deployment to Iraq to serve as the Multi-National Force West Rule of Law Coordinator.  

His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award.

On July 31, 2008, Colonel Stahlman was found in his room at Camp Ramadi, Iraq with a gunshot wound to the left side of his head.  He was evacuated by air for emergency treatment, and later moved to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he died on October 5, 2008.  At the time of his passing in 2008, Colonel Stahlman was one of the highest-ranking officers to die in the Iraq war.  Colonel Michael R. Stahlman was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on October 30, 2008.  

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