FORT IRWIN, CA - What do you do when you are about to retire and your unit is called into service? U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 James E. Shimanek answers the call.
A targeting officer with 1-37 Field Artillery Battalion, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Shimanek recently returned from a month-long training exercise in January at the National Training Center. The exercise involved a scenario where the Ghost Brigade supported "Atropian" allies in expelling a simulated invasion force from Atropian territory.
“Through the NTC scenario, we were able to introduce more advanced methods of identifying threats and engaging them with the appropriate systems," Shimanek said. “We were able to synchronize and resource capabilities within the brigade and division effectively through the staff's understanding of the commander's intent and guidance.”
During his almost 20 years of service, Shimanek deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Shimanek once again answered the call to serve by supporting 1-2 SBCT during a rotation to NTC. It was his sixth NTC rotation and his last as a U.S. Army Soldier due to his upcoming retirement.
“For me, one of the strongest pulls to stay in the Army for so many years were the relationships I built,” Shimanek said. “Many of the people I work with today are people that I have worked with in previous units. Those connections motivate you to stay a part of the team, especially during a deployment.”
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Shimanek is a father of two and has been married for 13 years.
“Our family has a tradition of eating pizza before a deployment or rotation,” he said. “Knowing I will be away from the comforts of home, we like to take advantage of a relaxing and family-oriented evening.”
Chief Shimanek is part of the field artillery branch, which focuses on providing precision fire support for maneuver units. He has been working in this field for nine years. Before starting his time as a chief warrant officer, Shimanek worked as an artillery forward observer and reached the enlisted rank of sergeant first class. His valuable experience helps foster a succinct and efficient artillery targeting team that works through the brigade’s operation process, managing the brigade's targeting process, and synchronizing staff to achieve the commander’s intent.
"I think we did a great job at NTC,” he said. “Our team excelled given the fact that we had a lot of obstacles to undertake.”
1-2 SBCT's executive officer, Maj. Trevor Williams, recognized Shimanek’s motivation and support within the brigade during a battle update brief Jan. 16, 2022.
“Shimanek didn’t have to come out here to support us in this fight,” Williams said. “He was offered a job back home, but fought hard to remain with Ghost and support the brigade. He understands the mission and he is an asset to this team,” Williams said.
While Shimanek has become one of the top advisors to 1-2 SBCT, he now looks toward starting a new career path once he retires. With a degree in sports management, Shimanek will begin his coaching career by volunteering at local schools in Washington.
Although he is concluding his military service, he carries lessons and experience that will stay with him forever.
“Being in the Army has been a rewarding experience,” Shimanek said. “I have learned about personal discipline and the benefit of structure in an organization. I am ready to bring that discipline and structure to my future team.”