BALTIMORE -- Name: Zachary Free
Rank: Airman 1st Class
Unit: 175th Civil Engineering Squadron
Job Description: Structures
Fulltime job: Assistant Project Manager for New Cyber Facility
Joined the MDANG: January 14, 2016
Total Service years: 1.5
Family: Too big to list!
Favorite Movie: Castaway
Favorite food: Texas Road House Rolls
Favorite Sports Team: Ravens & O’s
Tell us your brief life story?
I grew up in Essex about ten minutes from Warfield Air National Guard Base. My parents split at a very young age. But, it turned out to be for the better. It opened the opportunity for me to have more family. I spent a lot of summers swimming and playing with my cousins at my grandparents’ house. I moved to Cecil County with my father in 2005 where I met lifelong friends and finished high school.
Tell us about your military career?
I’m still very early into my career. But, so far I could not ask for a better experience. I joined in the beginning of 2016 after initially meeting with my recruiter the previous September. I left pretty quickly for Basic Military Training at the end of May. I returned home from technical training school in December and then began on-the-job training. Shortly after I completed my training, I was offered a full-time job by my commander. I was extremely grateful for this opportunity. I am currently on a project to construct a new building on base. This offers me an excellent learning opportunity that is relevant to my career field.
What brought you to the MDANG? How have you enjoyed your time here?
Towards the end of high school, I was the kid that still had no idea what he wanted to do after graduation. I was pretty sick of school and wanted a break. I also wanted to have the option to use the GI bill if I decided to take college classes. I grew up very patriotic and thought it would be a great idea to join the military. I care a lot about my family, which is definitely bigger than most families. Everyone always gets together for birthdays and holidays. I didn’t want to be stuck away from home for years at a time and the guard offered me the perfect opportunity to serve and be home. My time here has been great and has brought me many opportunities and experiences that I would not have received anywhere else.
What is your favorite Air Force or military memory or story?
I haven’t had much time to experience things in the military yet. However, my favorite experience was marching in the Veterans Day parade in Mississippi.
What is your proudest moment?
One of my proudest moments was when I visited my grandfather’s grave after I returned from BMT and technical training school. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea but passed away a few years ago. It was my first time going to visit and I felt proud to serve in his honor.
What are you passionate about?
When I’m not at work or busy, I love going outside and finding a cool spot to take pictures. I’ve enjoyed photography ever since I was very young and just bought my own camera a little over a year ago.