Michelle Baldanza

Michelle retired from the Army in 2019 after 21 years. Her last assignment was as a spokesperson and press officer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. She advised senior leaders including the Secretary of Defense and the Undersecretary for Research and Engineering. Before that, she managed operations for 16 radio and television stations of American Forces Network Europe. She also spent three years as a public affairs officer in the 82ndAirborne Division, which included one year in Afghanistan. During her 13 years as an Army PAO, she told the story of servicemembers and their families by working with a variety of types of media at regional, national and worldwide levels. 

Before becoming a PAO, Michelle was a transportation officer and commanded a transportation company that deployed three times to Kuwait and Iraq. As a truck platoon leader in Germany, she also deployed to Kosovo.

Michelle studied accounting at Stetson University in Deland, FL and has an MBA with a focus in aviation from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. 

She lives in Arlington, VA with her husband, Ryker, a combat veteran who retired after 23 years in the Army, their two children, Joseph and Sophia, and their westie, Louis. 

She is proud of her family’s service that includes her grandfather, Dick Borowski, a WWII scout in France and Germany; her father-in-law, Army Colonel (Ret.) Billy Horn, a Vietnam vet; her brother-in-law Gary Fuller who served in the Air Force; her sister and brother-in-law Donna and Reggie Moore - both West Point grads who served oversees in Bosnia, Kosovo and Germany; her brother, David, always a Marine, her nephew Sam, a medic in the Army Reserves; and a long list of mothers, fathers, wives, and children who supported them. They all inspire her to support veterans and their families.