ECHS grad headed to war
Published 12:57 am Wednesday, October 29, 2008
By By MaryClaire Foster
Following in his father’s footsteps, former Atmore resident Specialist Zachary McGhee deployed Friday from Fort Drum, N.Y. to northern Iraq.
McGhee graduated from Escambia County High School in 2005 and enlisted with the army on Jan. 25, 2006.
His father, John Howard McGhee, served in the 101st Division of the 82nd Airborne for 42 months in the Vietnam War.
His father’s service is part of what inspired him to join the military.
McGhee said he feels it’s his duty to serve in the military.
McGhee described his deployment as a “gargantuan event” and said he is both happy and ready to deploy.
His usual unit, the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum specializes in cold weather training and operating in mountainous environments.
McGhee said it’s the unit that led the way in Italy during WWII and they also fought in Somalia in what came to be known, from the book and movie, as “Black Hawk Down.”
While in Iraq, he will serve with a Pathfinder unit that specializes in the recovery of downed aircraft.
He is scheduled to be deployed for a year and upon his return plans to attend college through the Army’s “Green to Gold” program.
Knowing from an early age that a military career was in his future, McGhee set his sights high and plans on becoming an officer.
“I would also like to complete my Special Forces (Green Beret) training, as I have already attended the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course once,” he said.
McGhee said he hopes to retire as a general.
His father said his son has a lot of potential and sees his son becoming an officer a very real possibility.
Zachary McGhee also expressed his appreciation for his family’s support.
His father said that while he is not crazy about him being deployed, he’s proud of his son’s decision to serve his country and is glad this will also serve as an opportunity to work and travel.
Zachary McGhee’s mom, Sandra McGhee, said she too is proud, but a little scared.
McGhee also has 14-year-old brother, Jacob, who he said thinks it’s “pretty cool” to have a brother in the army.
Both John and Sandra McGhee said Jacob is extremely proud of his older brother.
His mother asked that everyone please keep the troops in their prayers.