Swindle retires from military after serving 24 yearsBy Emily Etheredge Published 5:19pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Chief Warrant Officer 3 and Legal Administrator, 335th Signal Command (Theater) Dwight Swindle retired from the military on Aug. 1.
Swindle, a Jemison resident, said he decided to retire due to the time commitments spent in Chattanooga and Atlanta each weekend serving as a warrant officer.
“I enjoyed my time in the military but it got to be too much,” Swindle said. “I was driving every weekend to Chattanooga and then Atlanta, and driving more than 400 miles every weekend got to me.”
Swindle graduated from Jemison High School in 1983 and attended Alabama A&M University where he majored in computer science.
“When I graduated from college in July 1987, no one was hiring so I applied at Hardees restaurant in Clanton and became the assistant manager of Hardees,” Swindle said. “A lot of people have different opinions about fast food, but I have to say the best part about working in fast food is the people.”
Swindle said his job at Hardees allowed him to have a flexible schedule while attending graduate school at the University of Montevallo, and he decided to join the military in June 1989 for the G.I. Bill, a bill that provides benefits for veterans.
When Swindle enlisted, he joined the Army Reserves in 1988 and was in active duty from June 1, 1988-May 31, 1989.
Swindle said when he enlisted in the Army, he was called to serve in Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm.
Swindle said the hardest part of being called to serve was postponing his wedding date to his then-fiancé and current wife, Madeline.
“That was the hardest part,” Swindle said. “I left for Desert Storm in September of 1990. We were supposed to get married around Thanksgiving and I didn’t return home until April of 1991. I think the worst day for me in the military was the day I was supposed to get married. I was just really down that day.”
Swindle married Madeline in August of 1991 and they have three children, Jessica, Josiah and Savannah.
Swindle went on to receive a master’s degree in math education from the University of Montevallo with a dual major in education administration.
After returning from serving in Desert Storm, Swindle decided to become a warrant officer and started his teaching career at Jemison High School.
Swindle said he credits the late Margo Gibson, who was a former principal for Jemison High School, for allowing him to teach due to Gibson giving Swindle his first teaching job.
“She gave me my first teaching job where I started out teaching history and geography,” Swindle said. “After that first year, I then went on to teach math and I stayed at Jemison High School for 19 years.”
Swindle is now the vice principal at Verbena High School as he begins his 20th year of being a teacher.
“I think the military really prepared me for the job that I have now because it taught me to be prepared to do anything,” Swindle said. “The military gets you in the mindset to do anything you are asked to do.”
Swindle said some of his best experiences of being in the military over the years center on serving with the soldiers.
“I was able to develop a wonderful camaraderie with the soldiers I served and I am blessed for that,” Swindle said. “It is also a wonderful feeling when I got out in public and someone will thank me for my service. It makes me realize that people appreciated the work that I did.”