JOHNSTON, Iowa — At the age of 17, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Stephen L. Swisher made one of the biggest decisions of his life— he enlisted with the Iowa Army National Guard in Council Bluffs.
That decision took him across the country and around the world after he completed numerous training courses at various schools. He served in Iraq from October 2005 to July 2007.
Comparing the Guard from then to now, Swisher said there have been lots of changes since he enlisted all those years ago.
"That has to do with basically on how engaged the Guard has gotten," he said. "We are pretty much considered as active Army, I mean, we can do what they can do."
Before officially retiring on Wednesday at the Iowa Ordnance Training Center in Camp Dodge, Swisher was the longest-serving soldier in the state with more than 44 years.
He beat the previous record by 30 days.
Swisher is ranked 51st nationally for being the longest-serving soldier in the Army National Guard.
Swisher's ranking as a CW5 is elite. He was one of five Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers with more than 44 years of service, and all are Warrant Officers.
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