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Palmerton honors teacher for military service

Palmerton Area School District honored one of its high school teachers Tuesday night who recently retired from the military following a 25-year career. Chief Master Sgt. Josh Nenscel, a 1998 Palmerton graduate, retired March 3 from the U.S. Air Force.

The district, in a presentation led by school board member Kris Schaible, unveiled a plaque that will hang in the high school commemorating his military service.

“This will be a reminder to all who walk by of all you have achieved,” Schaible said. Nenscel said Tuesday there was never a doubt his life’s journey would include military service.

“I always watched military movies with my father and I really just wanted to make him proud,” he said. “I knew I would serve just like he did. I’ve gained a lot of life experiences over the past 25 years.”

During Tuesday’s presentation, Schaible read a letter from Palmerton graduate Alec McCarty, who described the impact Nenscel had on his decision to join the U.S. Air Force.

“I decided I wanted to join the U.S. Air Force the first day I met Chief Master Sgt. Nenscel in class,” McCarty said. “His passion for teaching and the military is contagious. He is someone I have looked up to and will continue to hold in high regard throughout my military career.”

McCarty wrote his comments from Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany, where he is serving as an Airman first class.

“While most of my classmates are still in college, a few who have changed majors or even dropped out, I have achieved more in this past year than I ever thought possible,” McCarty said. “I hope one day I can be as influential to a young airman as (Nenscel) has been to me. I hope one day I can live up to the standards he set.” Nenscel was also honored Tuesday with a citation from the state House of Representatives for his military service.

Military Experience

Nenscel’s career began with the U.S. Army for 10 years as an intelligence analyst and he served in Iraq for a year.

In November 2003, Nenscel transferred to the 366th Military Police Battalion in Pittsburgh. He deployed to Iraq in January of the following year and was promoted to a staff sergeant in September 2004.

Nenscel joined the U.S. Air Force and was a services helper with the 913th Services Squadron in 2007 before transferring to the 514th Services Squadron in New Jersey as a services craftsman. He achieved the rank of technical sergeant in May 2011 and in October of that year he deployed to Ethiopia where he served as a noncommissioned officer in charge.

In October 2013, he was promoted to master sergeant and named to dress and restoration noncommissioned officer in charge at Dover Port Mortuary in Delaware. From October 2015-June 2017, Nenscel worked as a services craftsman with the 512th Memorial Affairs Squadron and was later promoted to first sergeant of the 512 Security Forces Squadron before accepting the position of section chief of fitness and sports of the 512th Memorial Affairs Squadron in June 2018.

He became senior enlisted advisor of the Squadron in October 2021 and was promoted to chief master sergeant in March 2022.

Palmerton Area School District board member Kris Schaible presents high school teacher Josh Nenscel with a plaque commemorating his 25-year military career. Chief Master Sgt. Nenscel retired from the U.S. Air Force on March 3. JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS