Colonel Schnitzspahn has had a distinguished 27-year career in both the Active Component and the Army Reserves. On Active Duty in Germany, as a 1st Lieutenant (1LT) he commanded both of the only two Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) companies in the Army at that time. While in command, he initiated and conducted an investigation that exonerated the Soldier driving a HET that killed a German bicyclist by proving that the bicyclist accidentally fell under the vehicle instead of being hit by it. He also was awarded the Joint Services Commendation Medal for identifying safety issues with service weapons issued by Defense Investigative Service (DIS) agents resulting in an agency recall of the defective weapons.
In the Reserves, while serving as Battalion S-4, he was selected to take command of a maintenance company operating at less than 40% of assigned strength. Enlisting the assistance of the local recruiting command, the unit was brought up to assigned operational strength thus improving readiness. He received the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for this achievement. Additionally, while he commanded this company, the unit competed for and won the prestigious Phillip Connelly Outstanding Field Dining Facility Award for the Reserve component in two successive years. He led this company for an unprecedented four years as commander. After the additional year was completed, he served on the Support Group staff followed by service on the staff of the 718th Transportation Battalion as Operations Officer (S3), Executive Officer (XO), and ultimately Battalion Commander. While Battalion Commander, 80% of the Battalion was mobilized and deployed to the Middle East for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. 100% of the Battalions Soldiers mustered for mobilization.
The deployed Soldiers of the companies of the Battalion served with distinction alongside and in support of active combat units during this operation. The companies redeployed to CONUS with no casualties at the conclusion of the operation. Short-term overseas service while assigned to the Battalion included Honduras, and twice to Germany. After commanding the 718th, he was assigned to HQ, 83rd Army Reserve Command (ARCOM). Service at the 83rd included Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff of Training, and culminated with Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel (G1). Duties as the G1 led to the distinct honor of reading the order retiring the Colors of the 83rd ARCOM in September 1996. He retired from the U.S. Army was in September 1996 completing twenty-seven years of Active and Reserve service. He was awarded the Legion of Merit upon retirement.