U.S. Army JAG School Oral History Interview Conducted With Major General (Ret.) Michael J. Nardotti, Jr.

Authors:Boyle, Kevin McHugh, Michael

Major General (Retired) Michael Nardotti served as the Judge Advocate General from October 1993 through August 1997. While serving in that position is he often credited with developing the JAGC motto "Soldiers First." However, that philosophy developed over a career spanning twenty-eight years.

MG (R) Nardotti was born in Brooklyn, New York on 30 April 1947. Shortly thereafter he moved to Long Island New York and graduated from Uniondale High School. After graduation he became the first graduate of his high school to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. Upon graduation in 1969, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree and was commissioned in the Infantry.

As an infantry officer, MG (R) Nardotti attended both the Infantry Officer Basic Course and the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, GA. He than was assigned to the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Carson, Colorado, from Feb to Aug 1970. There he served as a reconnaissance platoon leader and headquarters company commander. In Sept 1970 he deployed to Vietnam and served as a rifle platoon leader with the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. He held this position until he was wounded in action in Dec 1970.

From Dec 1970 through May 1971 MG (R) Nardotti underwent extensive hospitalization and rehabilitation both in theater and at St Albans Naval Hospital. In May 1971 he was reassigned to West Point and served as a physical education instructor. In 1973 he entered Fordam Law School under the excess leave program. His first assignment as a judge advocate was in 1977 as a prosecutor and legal center officer-in-charge with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany.

Prior to his assignment in 1980 to Litigation Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, MG (R) Nardotti attended the Judge Advocate Advanced Course. He remained at Litigation Division for five years and worked in both the Military Personnel Branch and the Torts Branch. While at Litigation Division he handled many of the Army's most complex cases to include defending the Army's Chaplains Program.

From 1985 through 1988 he served as the Staff Judge Advocate for the 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood Texas. There he became one of the first Staff Judge Advocates to routinely send his judge advocates to all field exercises as well as on deployments. In 1988 he was reassigned to Fort Benning GA and served as the Staff Judge Advocate for the U.S. Army Infantry Center until 1990. In 1990 MG (R) Nardotti attended the War College at Carlisle Barracks PA.

He then served briefly in the Contract Appeals Division, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency, before appointment and promotion to Brigadier General and assignment as the Assistant Judge Advocate General for Civil Law and Litigation. In Oct 1993 he was promoted to Major General and sworn in as The Judge Advocate General of the Army. While in that position he expanded the role of reserve component judge advocates and instilled his vision throughout the JAGC that judge advocates best serve their client, the Army, by understanding that they are soldiers first. He also successfully met several legal challenges to include the Aberdeen Recruiting scandal, the courts-martial of the SGM of the Army, SGM Gene McKinney, and implementation of a new Homosexual Conduct Policy.

Following retirement in Aug 1997, MG Nardotti (R) entered the private practice of law. On 1 Nov 1997 he joined the law firm of Patton Bogg, L.L.P., in Washington DC, as a partner. His practice areas include litigation, government contracts, and defense and national security policy.

MG (R) Nardotti's awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with "V" Device and Oak Leaf Cluster. He is also authorized to wear the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Parachutist's Badge, and Ranger Tab.

MG (R) Nardotti and his family, wife Susan, children Chris, Sarah, and Matthew, currently reside in Virginia and maintain close ties with the JAGC.

Nardotti, Michael, 1947- , Judge Advocates, Interviews, United States, Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975, American Personal Narratives
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Source Citation:

Boyle, Kevin Major, Major Michael McHugh. U.S. Army JAG School Oral History Interview Conducted With Major General (Ret.) Michael J. Nardotti, Jr. Charlottesville, Va., 2000

Judge Advocates Generals School
Published Date:

JAGC Regimental Oral History 2000 Nardotti

Contents: Biography, Background Chronology, Interview Plan Sequence, Interview Index.

Includes index.

May 2000.

Summary published in 168 Mil. L. Rev 1 (2001). "The Soldier-Lawyer: A Summary and Analysis of An Oral History of Major General Michael J. Nardotti, Jr., United States Army (Retired) (1969-1997). By Major George R. Smawley.

Box also contains original cassette tapes of interview (3 tapes for 3/15/2000, 6 tapes for 3/31/2000, and 4 backup tapes), three 3 1/2" diskettes, a CD with Word files for the entire work, and the Smalley summary of the work.