Brigadier General (BG) John Cardwell is a native of Tennessee who graduated from the University of Tennessee on an ROTC scholarship in 1984. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate and commissioned in Armor as a Second Lieutenant. BG Cardwell's first assignment was with the 5th Battalion, 68th Armor, Mannheim, Germany, where he served as a tank platoon leader, tank company executive officer, and battalion maintenance officer.
Upon returning to the states BG Cardwell served as the maintenance officer for the 10th Cavalry, Fort Knox, KY. His next assignment took him to Fort Bragg, NC, where he served as the battalion Adjutant for 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 73rd Armor, 82nd Airborne Division, and later commanded Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 73rd Armor in the 82nd Airborne Division. With the 82nd Airborne, BG Cardwell served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. His last active duty assignment was as Senior Army Advisor 24th Infantry Division in support of the 1st Battalion, 108th Armor, Georgia Army National Guard.
BG Cardwell entered the Army Reserve with the 3397th Garrison Support Unit, Chattanooga, TN, where he served as the assistant S2/3 and later as the S3. In 1999, he was selected for battalion command and took command of the 82nd Airborne Division Detachment, Fort Bragg, NC, where he served as the 82nd Airborne Division G3 Rear and the Commander of the Rear Area Operations Center. In July 2002, BG Cardwell took command of the 2nd Battalion, 347th Regiment, Fort Gordon, GA. In January 2003 he mobilized in support of operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. Under BG Cardwell’s command, the 2nd Battalion, 347th Regiment, was awarded the Superior Unit Award. In July 2004 BG Cardwell assumed command of the 2125th Garrison Support Unit, Decatur, GA, supporting mobilization operations at Fort Bragg, NC. In 2007 BG Cardwell became the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Policies for the 81st Regional Readiness Command. In 2008 he was selected as the Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for the State of Tennessee where he deployed as the Department of Defense representative to Homeland Security Task Force Southeast in support of Haiti earthquake operations. In August 2010 he assumed the role of Chief of Staff, 84th Training Command, Fort Knox, KY. BG Cardwell took command of the 9th Mission Support Command on January 12, 2013.
He has a Bachelor’s degree in finance and banking from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the United States Army War College.
BG Cardwell’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (4 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (OLC), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (3 OLC), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Southwest Asia Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Bronze Hourglass, “M” Device, and Numeral 2, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Government of Kuwait), Master Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Army Superior Unit Award, and Venezuelan Parachutist Badge.