U.S. Army Colonel Chad G. Carroll has been named the 2020 Inductee into the Cleburne High School Ex-Students Wall of Fame in conjunction with Homecoming celebrations underway this week.
Carroll, who is a member of the CHS Class of 1990, is currently serving as Communications Director, Army Futures Command in Austin. His 26-year military career ranges from deployment to the Middle East and the Republic of Korea to four years at The Pentagon.
“We received some outstanding nominations for the Wall of Fame honor,” Ex-Students Homecoming Chairman Stephanie Philips said. “However, it was clear in the response from our Homecoming Committee that Col. Carroll was the choice for induction in 2020. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor him.”
In his senior year at CHS, Carroll received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. It was one of numerous accolades, reflecting his level of student involvement and his recognized role as a leader among his peers.
Highlights of his senior year at CHS range from Student Body President, Golden Pride Band President, and an officer in National Honor Society to Class Favorite, Most Likely to Succeed and Mr. CHS.
“Chad Carroll is the real deal,” classmate and longtime friend Darrell Boedeker said. “He is very genuine. What you see is what you get with him. All those titles he received in high school reflect who he is and are true to form when it comes to those descriptors.”
When discussing his high school years, and a childhood spent in Cleburne, Carroll’s words come from a grateful heart. He is the son of Paul and Priscilla Talley, who is a retired Coleman Elementary teacher, and the late Joe Carroll.
“I know I am extremely blessed and fortunate to have the Cleburne community shape my journey,” Carroll said. “That includes CHS teachers, mentors, friends and church family. So many people in Cleburne invested in me, and I could never repay that. I’ve simply tried to pay it back and give something to others via my Army career.
“I remember looking at my step-father Paul Talley’s Cleburne High School annuals and seeing his classmates, like Lt. General (Retired) Freddy McFarren, a previous Wall of Fame inductee. I thought it was so cool he went to West Point. After guys like Steve Metze, Jimmy Ray and Brian Carlock went ahead of me, I felt inspired, and called, to do the same.”
Carroll also talks about the impact of retired Golden Pride Band Director Alan Reed, who also served as sponsor of a Cleburne Explorers troop for a number of years.
“Alan Reed was so instrumental in my life, between band and the Scouting program,” Carroll said. “He was one of those teachers that go above and beyond. He never approached his teaching duties as a job or chore. He invested so much in me and so many other kids at CHS.”
Carroll graduated from West Point in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science. This was followed by a Master of Science in engineering management, awarded by the University at Missouri-Rolla in 1999.
He also holds a Master of Arts degree in mass communication, earned at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007, which was accompanied by honors from the Institute for Public Relations for his dissertation, “The U.S. Army Public Diplomacy Officer: Military Public Affairs Officers’ Roles in the Global Information Environment.”
Carroll’s resume also includes a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at the National Defense University.
Highlights of his military career include deployment to Egypt in 1999 as part of Operation Bright Star. From 2007-09 Carroll served as Public Affairs Officer, 4th Brigade, 1st Calvary Division in which he was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas and Iraq.
For the next three years his assignment expanded to also include Joint Task Force-1 (about 32,000 service members from various nations), serving as the public affairs officer in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In this position, Carroll spent time in Eastern Afghanistan, serving as the press and media advisor to the commanding general and organizational leadership.
In 2012, he was assigned to The Pentagon as the Executive Officer to the U.S. Army’s Chief of Public Affairs. He would remain at the U.S. Department of Defense for the next four years, serving as Director of Community Relations, U.S. Army, followed in October of 2015 with the position of Public Affairs Officer, Vice Chief of Staff. In 2016, he was promoted from Lt. Colonel to the rank of Colonel in ceremonies conducted at The Pentagon, with family in attendance.
The continuation of Carroll’s overseas assignments took a new and different direction in July of 2017, when he was named Public Affairs Director, U.S. Forces Korea, Combined Forces Command and United Nations Command. In this role, he served as advisor to the commanding general and the three agencies involved in the initiative.
Carroll was responsible for all aspects of the commands’ public affairs program including coordination with the staff of the US Embassy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, US Indo-Pacific Command and Republic of Korea counterparts. He also served as head of the Civil-Military Committee for the Republic of Korea-United States Status of Forces team.
He was brought back to his home state in July of 2019, where he was assigned to his current post in Austin, which includes project collaborations with The University of Texas.
Carroll’s wife, Jenn, is an Austin realtor. Their oldest daughter, Alexa, is a senior at Texas A&M University and intends to commission as a U.S. Air Force officer. Their son, Colton, is a senior at Dripping Springs High School and their younger daughter, Callie, is in the fifth grade.
Carroll’s military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three presentations of the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the NATO/ISAF Medal, the Army Staff Identification Badge, Army Parachutist Badge and Air Assault Badge. He holds five Army Commendation Medals and was twice awarded the Army Achievement Medal.
His career experiences have often paralleled national and international headlines in his work with the US and foreign press. He has guided the grieving families of Medal of Honor recipients through ceremonies at the White House, assisted in the coordination of world leader summits — and the world leaders in attendance — and often found himself on the front lines of breaking news.
“The coolest thing for me was turning on the NBS Nightly News and seeing Col. Chad Carroll being interviewed,” Boedeker said. “There were only two lead stories that night — Hurricane Harvey and the missile fired by North Korea over Japan. They showed interviews with Kim Jong-un, the prime minister of Japan—and Chad. There was my best friend in high school and the best man at my wedding being interviewed on national TV.
“I’m very proud of him, as a representative of Cleburne. He has served our nation with honor and distinction. He has definitely made his mark in this world. It gives me a lot of pride to see him picked for the Wall of Fame.”