Rear Adm. Gayle Shaffer earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Alabama and a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree 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 onboard 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, Bethesda, Maryland.
Shaffer served as executive officer, 1st Dental Battalion/Naval Dental Center, Camp Pendleton and U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. She also served as commanding officer, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida.
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, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; executive assistant to Navy deputy surgeon general, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; liaison officer to the Defense Health Agency; director, Health Services, Headquarters Marine Corps and Medical Officer of the Marine Corps; deputy chief, Operations, Plans and Readiness, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; and 38th chief of the Navy Dental 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 began serving as the Navy deputy surgeon general and deputy chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Feb. 28, 2020.
Shaffer’s awards are the result of being surrounded by incredible shipmates and they include the Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (four awards) and various unit and campaign awards.