Dan Altmayer, Federal Way, receives a meritorious service pin from a Navy admiral at his retirement ceremony after 24 years in the Army. Courtesy Dan Altmayer

Dan Altmayer, Federal Way, receives a meritorious service pin from a Navy admiral at his retirement ceremony after 24 years in the Army. Courtesy Dan Altmayer

Military service, advocating for vets important to Altmayer | Veterans Day

Whether it’s his country or his community, Federal Way resident and veteran Dan Altmayer has been ready to serve throughout his life.

Altmayer, who grew up in Illinois, said he gained an interest in the military at a young age because his father had served in the Air Force. His uncle was also a bomber pilot in the Air Force in World War II and another served in the Army.

“So I’ve always knew as a little kid I was going to join some branch of the military,” he said.

He has never regretted his decision.

After participating in the Civil Air Patrol as a youth, he enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 and a half. Because he wasn’t yet of age, his mother had to sign the contract for him. Altmayer said he initially enlisted as a helicopter repairman and later had the opportunity to be a door-gunner on a helicopter.

“And as a 17- or 18-year-old kid, I couldn’t think of anything cooler than being a door-gunner on a helicopter,” he said.

After he completed basic training, he went to college while serving in the Army Reserve and qualified to receive a commission through ROTC.

He completed officer basic course training for cavalry, where he placed first in his class, graduated with honors and received the Tactics and Leadership Award.

Altmayer then went to Germany, and when his superiors learned he was fluent in German, he was transferred from armored cavalry into military intelligence.

At one point when he was stationed in Germany, military equipment was sent to Tunisia, and he was the senior officer leading a mobile equipment training team in charge of training the Tunisian army to use tanks. Altmayer returned stateside in spring of 1989, and later that year the Berlin Wall came down.

“So, I like to say I’m partially responsible for helping President Reagan take down the Berlin Wall,” Altmayer said.

Instead of going overseas for Desert storm, he became a senior joint task force intelligence officer for counter-narcotics. He, along with the other 200 people involved in the mission from different branches of the military, were assigned to intercept and break up drug operations — marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, in the Gila National Wilderness in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.

“It was a very interesting time,” Altmayer said.

Altmayer retired from the Army as a major after 24 years, after also serving in the Army Reserve for Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as the Washington Army National Guard.

One of the greatest things about serving in the military was the camaraderie, he said. To this day, he could visit people with whom he served, and he would be invited into their homes and could stay as long as he needed.

“So the camaraderie is certainly one of those very big things that you take away from the military,” Altmayer said.

Since then he became heavily involved with Highline College, where he currently is on the board of trustees, and has worked hard to improve veterans services there.

“I saw that veterans really didn’t have a voice or advocate on the board of trustees, so I really kind of stepped into that role,” he said.

Even with all his dedication and work in the military and after, Altmayer said Veterans Day is still a special day for him because he said it is important to take a day and reflect and recognize veterans and those still serving in the military.

“It’s very satisfying to get recognized for the work that you did on behalf of the nation, and the sacrifices you made,” he said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Highline student finds her voice

Umoja Black Scholars Program enhances the cultural and educational experiences of African-American students.

Multi-Service Center raises $156,000 at annual Crab Feed

Federal Way’s Multi-Service Center raised funds to support its programs at its annual Crab Feed on June 1.

Auburn dance studio finds creative solutions to keep going during COVID-19

Pacific Ballroom Dance moves to online classes; group returned home early from national competition

Christmas with the Nelsons coming to Federal Way Nov. 23

The Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center brings Christmas to the city.

Centerstage presents ‘Robin Hood’

A holiday panto, coming soon to Federal Way.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage coming to Federal Way

Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang in their journey to uncover the true meaning of Christmas on Nov. 22.

The Shyan Selah Experience coming to the Federal Way PAEC

Federal Way native organizes college fair, concert to encourage youth to explore different education and workforce fields.

Grammy-award winning Los Lobos bringing new album to Federal Way

Proceeds from Oct. 5 performance to benefit the Arts 4 Youth program.

Rosebud Children’s Theatre Conservatory wraps up 10th season with ‘Little Women’

The Broadway musical, which runs Aug. 2-4 and 9-11, is based on the classic Americana story written by Louisa May Alcott.

Film Festival @ Browns Point to host inaugural event Aug. 2-3

Festival aims to show films with solutions to various social justice issues.

Rosebud Children’s Theatre Conservatory celebrates 10th season

Jack the Giant runs July 19-21; Little Women coming Aug. 2-11.