SANTA MARIA, CA, USA U.S. Army SGT, COMPANY A, 1ST BATTALION, 18TH INFANTRY, 2 BCT, SCHWEINFURT, GM BAGHDAD, IRAQ 06/02/2007
Sergeant Shawn E. Dressler was born in Poughkeepsie, New York on August 13th, 1984.
When he was a teenager, Dressler and his father scouted out the roughest parts of Los Padres National Forest and spent days together hunting, hiking, fishing, and camping. Shawn would become well known for his love of turkey hunting.
After graduating from Santa Maria High school, he enlisted in the Army on September 17th, 2002 though he had always considered being in law enforcement, becoming a forest ranger, or a history teacher.
In doing so, he had become a 3rd generation serviceman, his grandfather having been in the Marine Corps and his father having been an engineer for the Navy. Shawn was trained as an Infantryman at Fort Benning, Georgia. After graduating from Basic Training, SGT Dressler was assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment in Schweinfurt, Germany on March 21st, 2003.
Shawn served in OIF II with his company as a M249 Gunner, M240 Gunner, and a Fire Team Leader. He deployed once again with his brothers in support of OIF 06-08 where he served proudly as a Bradley Gunner and a Fire Team Leader.
Shawn had a few close calls in Iraq and once took a spray of bullets to the chest. Though his Kevlar vest saved him the force was still strong enough to knock him back.
It was during Shawn’s first tour in Iraq that he met Amanda Bridges through the internet and they fell in love. Shawn initially wanted to get married after he left the army. But 6 days after Amanda went home after visiting Shawn in Germany he knew he had wanted to marry her. June, 2006 Amanda flew out to Germany and where they were married by a man that neither of them understood.
Amanda said “We have a video of it, and you can see us both trying hard not to laugh. We didn’t understand a word he said. We just stood there nodding our heads.”
Shawn and Amanda bought a 3 bedroom house in Commerce, Georgia and two weeks before he was killed they had closed on the house. He was so looking forward to the day when he and Amanda would begin their life together.
“We were fixing it up and painting it,” Amanda said. “We were so excited.” “I waited until the day he would come home, but he never made it home.”
Dressler was on Patrol June 2nd 2007 when a roadside bomb exploded next to his Humvee in Baghdad. He died 30 minutes later. His comrade, Army Pfc. Joshua D. Brown, 26, died the next day of his injuries. Joshua was survived by his wife Elizabeth, his son Steven, and his parents Wayne and Marian Brown. Dressler was survived by his wife Amanda, his parents Cecil and Tonya Dressler, his sister Melissa, and his two step brothers, James and Daniel.
Shawn received the following commendations: The Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Medal, the Overseas Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.