Sgt. Michael Milton: Driven to succeed
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - Open the pages of author, entrepreneur and television personality Daymond John's book, Rise and Grind, and you'll quickly find why U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Milton is one of his biggest fans. Milton says the title mixes right in with his family's guidance and is the inspiration behind his success.

"It was a family tradition of military service, sense of duty and at times adventure. My brother served over twenty years, my sister in law served 14 years, my first cousin served twenty years and I have uncles that served as well. The Army was instrumental in laying the groundwork for success; in life, if you want to be successful, you have to make things happen."

In August of 2016, Milton suffered a muscle breakdown that led to a kidney injury, forcing the Florida native to begin contemplating his future.

Milton enrolled in the Operation Warfighter Program, the Department of Defense's internship program that matches qualified wounded, ill and injured service members with internships to gain valuable work experience during their recovery and rehabilitation. This program assists with a Soldier's reintegration to duty or their transition into the civilian work force.

Milton interned with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Safety Office. There he worked on everything from preparing and reviewing job hazard analysis assessments to conducting research and providing relative safety knowledge, Milton says the program was a perfect fit for him.

"I have always been intrigued with engineering, innovation and technology. I worked as a manufacturing process engineer for 15 years prior to enlisting," Milton said. "ARL's mission is to discover, innovate, and transition science and technology to ensure strategic land power. Ultimately, ARL serves the warfighter and I have the ability to influence policy at this level and ensure continued safety principles throughout the Army. It feels good. It feels right."

True to form, Milton says his Army career played a major role in his journey, now he has another goal on the horizon after having to retire early than he expected.

"I didn't think I would retire this early in my career, but it happened. Once an individual commits to the couch - that's it. I plan to continue to make a difference in society. My work is not done here and the OWF program made that journey possible and I'm grateful."

This August, thanks to his internship, Milton will begin a full-time position as a Safety and Occupation Health Specialist with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Safety Office.