Mike Vining completed the Army’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) program before being sent to Vietnam in 1970. He served in the 99th Ordnance Detachment for a year before being honorably discharged. While in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star for “meritorious service in ground operations and EOD duties”. In 1973, he rejoined the Army, serving as an EOD specialist in the 63rd Ordnance Detachment at Fort Leonard Wood. In 1978, he was assigned to Delta Force, a newly formed unit of which he was its first EOD specialist. Vining served in Delta until 1985, taking part in Operation Eagle Claw and Operation Urgent Fury. From 1985-1986, he was assigned to the 176th Ordnance Detachment in Alaska, before being brought back to Delta from 1986-1992, taking part in the Gulf War, Operation Uphold Democracy, and serving as an explosives expert during the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. He retired from the military in January 1999.