Colonel Shortal attended the University of Illinois on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship where he ran varsity track and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and CPA designation.
After graduation, Second Lieutenant Shortal reported to Quantico, Virginia for The Basic School, graduating with honors in 1994. Following this training, he completed Naval Flight Training and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1997.
First Lieutenant Shortal transferred to Marine Corps Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT 101), the "Sharpshooters," at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, for training in the F/A-18 Hornet. In 1998, he reported to the "Red Devils" at Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 at MCAS Miramar, California. Captain Shortal completed one Unit Deployment Program (UDP) to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. He served as the Powerline and S-1 Officer. In 2001, he transferred to VMFAT 101 as an Instructor Pilot. In addition, he was a member of the All-Marine Triathlon Team, representing the Marine Corps at the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
In 2002, Captain Shortal was assigned to VMFA (AW) 225 "Vikings" as the Pilot Training Officer. In February 2003, he deployed to Kuwait and flew 36 combat missions in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom, supporting First Marine Division's march to Baghdad. Upon his return, he graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS 1) Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course. He deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, in 2004 for another UDP.
Major Shortal joined the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in 2004 as the Marine Corps Representative. He flew as the #3 Left Wing in 2005 and the #4 Slot Pilot in 2006. Major Shortal performed for over 30 million spectators at 132 air shows throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. After leaving the Blue Angels, he finished his active duty Marine Corps career at EWGTPAC in Coronado, California. He was the Program Manager for the Forward Air Controller Airborne Course. Maj Shortal also taught in the JTAC School and served as an instructor pilot at VMFAT 101.
Major Shortal continued to serve upon release from active duty in 2008 with the Marine For Life Program in the Marine Corps Reserves. In 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Shortal transferred to AC2T in Great Lakes, Illinois. He worked as the S-6 and Marine Liaison Officer for various multi-national exercises. Next, LtCol Shortal served as the Commanding Officer of VMU 4 at Camp Pendleton in February of 2013. VMU 4 is the only drone squadron in the Marine Corps Reserves. Presently, Colonel Shortal works in a joint billet as a Command Center Director for NORAD/US NORTHCOM, running the Command Center. He also serves as the Senior Reserve Marine in the Reserve Forces Directorate.
In the civilian world, he is a Director in the financial services industry with Janus Henderson Investors. In addition, he serves on the advisory board of Synapse Partners, a venture capital firm focusing on data analytics and autonomous vehicles. He lives with his family in Portola Valley, CA.
Colonel Shortal has accumulated more than 3000 flight hours. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (Second Award), Individual Air Medal with combat "V," Strike Flight Air Medal (Numeral Three), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (Third Award with Combat Distinguishing Device), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (Second Award), and various personal and unit awards. In addition, he was selected as the 2004 Marine Corps Aviator of the Year, earning the Alfred A. Cunningham Award.