A native of Bloomington, Illinois, Rear Adm. Gayle Shaffer earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Alabama and a Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Alabama, School of Dentistry. She earned a certificate in comprehensive dentistry from the Naval Postgraduate Dental School and holds a master’s in health sciences from George Washington University. She received her commission as an ensign in 1989.
At sea, Shaffer served on USS Puget Sound (AD-38) completing two Mediterranean deployments. Ashore, her assignments include Naval Hospital Great Lakes; Great Lakes Naval Dental Center; clinic director, 2nd Dental Battalion, Camp Lejeune and Branch Dental Clinic, Naval Air Facility, Atsugi, Japan. She served as director, General Practice Residency; department head, Hospital Dentistry Division, and director for Branch Health Clinics, National Naval Medical Center.
Shaffer served as executive officer, 1st Dental Battalion/Naval Dental Center, Camp Pendleton and U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa; she served as commanding officer, Naval Hospital Jacksonville.
As an individual augmentee, Shaffer deployed as officer-in-charge of the Expeditionary Medical Facility, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa and Operation Enduring Freedom. She also deployed as commanding officer, NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support, Train, Advise, Assist Command-South.
Her staff assignments include assistant deputy chief, medical operations, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; executive assistant to Navy deputy surgeon general, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; and liaison officer to the Defense Health Agency. She currently serves as director, Health Services, Headquarters Marine Corps and medical officer of the Marine Corps.
Shaffer maintains board certification in the American Board of General Dentistry, and is a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and International College of Dentists.
Shaffer’s personal awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards) and various other service and unit awards.