General Schroeder enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1947. He was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program in May 1952 and attended U.S. Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, in 1954. Following graduation from Advanced Gunnery School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in 1954, the general was assigned to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Clovis, N.M. In 1955, General Schroeder deployed on a high flight with the wing to Bitburg Air Base, Germany. He was reassigned to Etain Air Base, France, in 1956, serving as a squadron fighter pilot flying the F-86F. He was released from active duty in January 1957.

General Schroeder rejoined the North Dakota Air National Guard in March 1957. He was assigned as a squadron pilot and later as a flight commander with the 178th Fighter Squadron at Hector Field, Fargo, N.D. The general served as squadron standardization and evaluation officer in 1957 and assumed duties as the director of group operations in 1968. In 1971, General Schroeder was appointed chief of staff for Air, Headquarters North Dakota Air National Guard at Fraine Barracks, Bismarck, N.D. He was appointed as the assistant to the commander in chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command in August 1980. The Secretary of Defense appointed him to serve on the Reserve Forces Policy board in March 1983. In June 1983, he was appointed the Air National Guard assistant to the commander in chief, United States Air Forces in Europe, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The general was a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours and has been combat ready in the F-80, F-86, F-94, F-89, F-102, F-101, and the F-4. He also has been a test pilot, instructor pilot, instructor pilot, and flight examiner in the T-33. He has more than 18,000 military and civilian flying hours, and has flown more than 100 types of aircraft. He has been checked out in the A-7, F-15, and F-16.

His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), the Republic of Korea Cheonsu Medal, Combat Readiness Medal with one oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with hourglass device, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and the National Guard Association of the United States Distinguished Service Medal.

The general was promoted to major general and federally recognized on Dec. 4, 1980. He retired from the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1987.