By Hattie Bernstein
During 26 years in the military, 24 combat deployments and six years at war, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Hangge ’15 has used writing to deal with life and death.
Now, having recently earned his M.A. in English and Creative Writing, the soldier, who self-published two novels, is writing a screenplay.
“My ultimate writing goal is simply to build a career entertaining others by giving life to the voices in my head,” Hangge wrote in an email from Iraq. “I love the process of writing. It’s very restorative and therapeutic for me. I’ve had some difficult times throughout the last two dozen years … and writing has become an escape for me. It’s allowed me to work out emotions and issues that were destructive.”
A Black Hawk pilot in the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Hangge has flown more than 5,000 hours in seven different helicopters and airplanes; earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star and 13 Air Medals with Valor; and been inducted into the Order of Saint Michael.
He enlisted in the Army in 1989 as an Aeroscout Observer; was deployed in 1990 to Operation Desert Shield/Storm; and today is a member of the prestigious 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
His path wasn’t predictable — or easy.
“I originally joined because I was a pretty troubled kid, and I stayed because I married an amazing woman who wanted to share an incredible journey with me,” he says.
Hangge enrolled in SNHU’s online master’s degree program in English and creative writing to hone his writing skills and learn about the publishing business.
“I met a magazine publisher who asked me to write a piece … the experience made me realize even more that I needed to learn the business of writing because there is so much more to sharing a story than simply telling it,” Hangge says.
He was working on a screenplay and already had an agent before graduation, and wants to one day work with an agent who also graduated from SNHU.
“No matter who I end up working with, my goal is to find a producer for this screenplay and to see it on the screen,” he says.