By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Twenty-eight years ago, Dale Shetler joined the U.S. Army and served in active service and the Army Reserves for eight years.
Since then he’s served with the Indiana National Guard. Command Sgt. Major Shetler was recently appointed as the 38th Sustainment Brigade’s senior enlisted adviser. The 38th Sustainment Brigade is headquartered in Kokomo.
“I will advise the commander on training issues and morale issues concerning the 1,700 soldiers in our brigade,” he said.
His appointment was approved by Indiana National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger and the commanding general of the 38th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Lonnie Culver.
There are 15 different units in 11 different cities with groups of soldiers numbering around 110 to 150 in each unit.
“I visit the armories and make a report to the commander,” Shetler said. “I also attend regular meetings with the state’s top leaders to make sure our brigade is focusing on the right things. During my two weeks of summer training, I went to all the armories and advised them on training and checked on morale.”
He said one of their transportation companies “is in Afghanistan and another one is going ... and in training. While they are doing training, I spend time with them making sure their training is up (to standard). We do a lot of logistics with transportation and sustainment supplies — food, fuel, ammunition, equipment maintenance and water.”
There are eight sustainment brigades in the National Guard and “we are one of them,” Shetler said.
He deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, in 2006 and 2007 with the 38th Division Support Command.
“Our group ran Camp Victory in Baghdad. It was quite an experience,” he said. “My title was ‘Sheriff’ (Mayor Cell noncommissioned officer-in-charge) of Camp Victory. We were there during the surge (when the U.S. military surge began in February 2007 to provide security for the civilian population). We had three months to get ready to add 3,000 soldiers.”
He said Camp Victory went from 6,000 to 9,000 soldiers during the surge.
“It was interesting. It was all good,” Shetler said.
His enlisting into the military changed his life for the better.
“I came back with a whole different attitude. I finished college and got a good job,” he said. “I decided to stay in to help people and give back because it changed me. I try to balance it (being in the National Guard) between my family, work and church.”
His civilian job is being the vice president of software development for Hertzler Systems Inc. in Goshen.
“I have a software degree and we do quality control software and services,” Shetler said. “I help develop the software line. The company has been around for 30 years. I’ve been there for 25 years. My work has been very supportive of my military service. I would not have been able to stay in as long as I have or move up to my current position without a lot of support. They also made sure my family was taken care of while I was in Iraq.”
That support contributed to Hertzler Systems being in the running for the Department of Defense Freedom Award. The award is the highest recognition for employers supporting their guard and reserve employees.
Shetler attends Silverwood Mennonite Church with his wife, Angie. The couple have been active members for many years.
“My wife and I are youth sponsors. We spend time doing a service project once a month besides the meetings,” Shetler said. “We went to Phoenix with the youth for a convention and spent time doing a service project.”
He said after spending time in Kuwait and Iraq, he tries to instill an appreciation for life in the United States with the youth at the church.
“We have it so nice and we take it for granted,” he said. “I try to make the kids understand those who live different from us and we need to give back where we can.”
The couple enjoy biking and running together. They’ve participated in several half marathons and running races together.
Their son and daughter graduated from Goshen High School and he has volunteered at high school sporting events and soccer games.
“I still go to soccer games. I enjoy that,” he said.
He enjoys living life and giving back to others as much as possible.
Just the Facts
Name: Dale Shetler
Hometown: South Bend
Current town: Goshen for 18 years
Married to and how many years: Angie Shetler - 28 years
Education: Computer Science, Indiana University at South Bend
Children: Trevor Shetler (wife Faith), Goshen, and Leah Shetler, Valparaiso University
Hobbies and Interests: Running, biking, basketball, working with youth, and Da Bears