OTF Soldier Story for December 8, 2008 - 1st Lt. Dennis Chamberlain
Current Unit: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-158th Infantry Regiment
Current Position: Mortar Platoon Leader
Component: Arizona National Guard
Current Location: Gilbert, Ariz.
Hometown: Jacksonville, Ill.
Years of Service: 14
A proud member of the Arizona National Guard, 1st Lt. Dennis Chamberlain shares a family legacy of service that parallels some of the military’s most significant milestones. His ancestor Jacob Snider was commissioned as an officer during the Revolutionary War after serving as a surveyor for General George Washington. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain fought at Gettysburg and received a Congressional Medal of Honor. The legacy continues through World Wars I and II and into the Cuban Missile Crisis when his father Dwight Chamberlain, III served with the Army.
Chamberlain entered his own chapter into his family’s story when he enlisted with the Army as a junior in high school. Having now served for 14 years, Chamberlain has completed tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle.
Chamberlain returned less than a year ago from his most recent deployment with the 82nd Airborne Division in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan from March 2007 to March 2008. Near the end of his tour, Chamberlain’s team was called on to take Senators Biden, Kerry and Hagel to safety after their helicopter had been forced to make an emergency landing in the mountains outside of Bagram Army Air Field. It was for these actions that Chamberlain was later awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
Though much of Chamberlain’s time in theater was devoted to combat and patrol activities, he brought aid to local Afghan families whenever he had the opportunity. He said he was impressed with the larger picture of transformation he saw in the local communities, and with the progress made by Afghan troops he trained and led.
Originally from Jacksonville, Ill., Chamberlain now lives in Gilbert, Ariz. with his wife Pfc. Jennifer Chamberlain, an Army Reserve Soldier. The couple has three daughters: Chloe (7), Kaci (4) and Cami (2). While at home, Chamberlain balances fatherhood with academic pursuits. The Arizona State University alumnus is currently working on a graduate degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. He continues to serve in the Arizona Army National Guard and was recently nominated for the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, an annual Army-wide recognition of junior officers who embody the values of duty, honor and country.