Unsung Hero: Staff Sergeant Bruce Shepard

Army recruiter seeks high school students to serve our country

Marissa Panasiti, News and Features Writer

Among the large amounts of influential people in a young man or woman’s life is the person who gives them the chance to begin their journey pursuing a career in the military: their recruiter.

After more than 15 years of service in the United States Army, Staff Sergeant Bruce Shepard, who recently visited Bellwood-Antis on a recruiting trip,  knew that his calling went further than serving his country on the battlefield.

While he has been deployed in active several times in the fight against terror, it has been in his position as a recruiter that Sgt. Shepard has passionate calling.

Bruce’s Army experience started in 1998 during his senior year of high school when he and his brother decided to join the Army and follow in their father’s footsteps. Bruce signed up as a cavalry scout.

As a cavalry scout, Bruce was responsible for a wide range of tasks, including locating enemy troop positions, classifying bridges, tunnels, culverts, finding the slope of the terrain, and determining the overall “trafficability” of routes.

Covering almost the entire spectrum of military operations, Bruce has been deployed three times to Iraq, twice to Afghanistan, and has lived in four different states.

In between his Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, he spent three years instructing at the Armor School where he trained thousands of new cavalry scouts on demolitions and movement techniques under direct fire.

“The chance to go back and interact with new scouts as they entered into their first experiences with the US Army and teach them some of the basic skills that they would be using when they got to their next unit was an exciting time for me and the soldiers both,” says Shepard.

Beginning in November 2015, Bruce started recruiting.

I hope to build many meaningful relationships within the community while helping to find the next generation of America’s soldiers.”

— Sgt. Shepard

“I will continue recruiting for the next three years,” says Shepard.  “I hope to build many meaningful relationships within the community while helping to find the next generation of America’s soldiers who are ready to serve in an exciting and challenging career field.”

According to Bruce, recruiting high school students is very beneficial due to the large concentration of qualified individuals in one place. Seeing so many young people reminds him of the same exciting and hopeful time in his life years ago.

It is also extremely challenging.

“Every person has their own experiences, values, concerns, and life stories that help shape them into the unique individual that they are,” says Shepard. “This aspect alone could be considered one of our greatest challenges.”

Another challenge that Bruce faces is dealing with the stereotypes that are placed on recruiters.

“Many people see recruiters only as someone who wants to get students into boots as soon as possible, in an attempt to make their quota,” he says. “Our goal is to sit down and have a meaningful conversation about what exactly this person wants to do with their lives in both the short term and long term.”

All in all, Sergeant Bruce Shepard is very passionate about what he does, and simply wants to get young people involved.

America’s Army has stood as the most powerful force for securing the freedoms and security of every citizen in the country. To ensure this can continue, some of the best and brightest of America’s youth need to step up to the plate, and let our legacy live on.

Thank you, Sergeant Shepard, for all of your service; past, present, and future.

Sgt. Shepard has been married to Carolina Shepard for 14 years, after meeting at Ft. Polk Louisiana and were married Dec 23, 2001.  He was recently promoted to Sergeant First Class.