Major David Houde '05, US Army

Major David Houde ’05 is a Civil Affairs Officer in the United States Army and is currently serving as the Commander of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He has served as the Commander of this unit since May 26, 2021.  He began his military career upon graduation from Norwich University in 2009.

The Army was something of a natural choice for Major Houde. His father, William Houde Sr., served as an Infantry Officer in the Army National Guard. Upon graduation from Notre Dame, he chose to attend Norwich University because of its outstanding ROTC programs. “Looking for an opportunity to pursue an undergraduate degree, as well as volunteer for service in the Armed Forces, the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Norwich University provided me with both. The Military College of Vermont is one the nation’s senior military colleges and produces an impressive number of Commissioned Officers.”  At Norwich, Major Houde studied Criminal Justice. If a military career did not continue to appeal to him as he progressed through college, his back-up plan was to return to Connecticut and join a local police force.

The Army won out over a career in law enforcement, and although Major Houde considered assignment within the Military Police Corps, he entered into Active Duty as a Chemical Corps Officer.

Upon completing Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Chemical Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in 2010, he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York. There, he served as the CBRN Recon Platoon Leader. The mission of the Army Chemical Corps is to protect the force and the nation from Weapons of Mass Destruction and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear threats. During his time at Fort Drum, from 2011 to 2012 he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a Security Platoon Leader.

From 2014 to 2019, Major Houde was assigned to the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne) and was deployed on multiple Civil Military Engagement rotations: 2015 Theater Civil Military Support Element for Special Operations Command - Pacific; 2016 team leader for Civil Military Support Element - Cambodia; 2017 at the U.S. Embassy - Phnom Penh as the team leader for PACOM Augmentation team.  

As elite members of Army Special Operations Forces, Civil Affairs Soldiers complete a minimum of 44-74 weeks of training to ensure their small team is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to support the Joint Force across the spectrum of armed conflict. Over the course of this training, soldiers gain expertise in reconnaissance, combat, intelligence, negotiation, and more. While rigorous, it ensures soldiers can survive in unforgiving landscapes, quickly analyze threats under pressure, and develop solutions to complex problems. Those soldiers who are selected to join Civil Affairs join one of the Army’s most elite teams. 

In 2019, Major Houde attended the Command and General Staff Officer Course at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, followed by National Defense University’s Joint Special Operations Master of Arts program at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  From the latter institution, he earned a Master’s Degree in Strategic Security Studies.  Major Houde's military education also includes Airborne School, Air Assault School, and SERE-C, a training program in survival skills.
His 2021 appointment as a Company Commander at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School makes Major Houde responsible for training and qualifying Civil Affairs Officers, Noncommissioned Officers, and Sister Service and Allied Nation Officers. He exercises mission command of an 11-week course conducted three times a year, which is part of the overall Civil Affairs Qualification Course. He is also responsible for onboarding and certifying 14 instructors who train, coach, and mentor 300 students every year. 

 “My 13 years of service in the U.S. Army have truly been a personally and professionally rewarding experience. The valor and patriotism of those whom I have had the distinct honor and privilege of serving with is unmatched. I have been entrusted with the autonomy and authority to operate with my small team and on my own in foreign countries, where my nearest supervisor is over 3,000 miles and multiple time zones away. I am grateful for the unique opportunities I have had to serve God and country.”

Just last week Major Houde and his wife welcomed their first child. Notre Dame High School is grateful to Major Houde and the many Notre Dame Alumni who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. Thank you for your service.