Master Sgt. (Ret.) Daniel Schaeler is a 24-year Air Force veteran who served from July 1987 to August 2011.
Schaeler learned to speak fluent Japanese while stationed in Japan for more than 13 years at Yokota, Kadena and Misawa Air Bases. While at Misawa in March 2011, he volunteered to use his language skills to help with Red Cross recovery efforts, providing aid to casualties during the aftermath of the worst earthquake in Japan's history. The devastating tremor measured 9.0 on the Richter scale and killed more than 15,000 people. “It was very sad to witness the destruction from one of the worst natural disasters in history. But I was glad I could show the Japanese people, who were affected by this tragic event, that we as American Airmen could help them in the small way we could.”
Schaeler oversaw Misawa's Bilateral Exchange Program. The first exchange of Japan Air Self Defense Force and U.S. Air Force service members between both countries created a mutual understanding of military operations, and helped foster intercultural and military community relations with the host nation. Schaeler praised the Air Force by stating, “It taught me to respect and appreciate freedom and the United States of America because freedom is not free. I was proud to help fight for freedom around the world as a member of the United States Air Force.”
Schaeler currently works as a nuclear quality assurance inspector for the British Aerospace Subsidiary in New Braunfels, Texas.