JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas. –
2019 will be an exciting year for Senior Airman Zachary Shawn Scott. The military working dog handler with the 802nd Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland will celebrate five years of service with the U.S. Air Force in March 2019. The following month, he will enter the next chapter of his military career when he attends Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Scott successfully completed the pre-Ranger Assessment course in November 2018. The assessment helps determine whether Airmen are ready to become Rangers by testing their physical fitness, tactical abilities, land navigation skills, water confidence, academic knowledge and leadership qualities.
“It took probably about a month to actually get all of my pre-requisites done,” Scott said.
Some of those tests included a confidence swimming test where he jumped off a 15 foot diving board blindfolded, completed a five mile run in under 40 minutes, completed 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups and six chin-ups; each performed within two minutes. His success came as no surprise to his supervisor who said Scott was among a small select few who passed the course.
“This is something he [Scott] wanted for a long time,” said Tech. Sgt. Sharif M. DeLarge, 802 SFS kennel master. “He’s one of those individuals that always needs a challenge.”
It’s doing the best he can in whatever mission he tackles that Scott is especially proud of.
“I was raised just a simple person; nothing too crazy or nothing too extraordinary," Scott said. “I guess that’s kind of what molded me to be who I am. I’ve had my own life problems. I think I’ve chosen the right path to stay a humble and positive person. I guess that’s what made me who I am today.”
As he looks ahead to hopefully beginning ranger school next April, Scott said he’s grateful for the support he received from his squadron. He’s in the middle of making arrangements for his next chapter once his commander signs off and allows him to go to ranger school.
“For a canine handler, it’s a little bit more of a sacrifice than if I was a normal security forces member patrolling, working at the gate, whatever it may be,” Scott said. “The dog that I’ve been working with for about a year and a half now I will actually have to get off of him and I will lose him when I go to the school. I’m sacrificing the canine for the opportunity to take on such a prestigious honor.”
“He’s in for something greater,” DeLarge said. “I know being a military working dog handler is great and it’s truly a rewarding job, but Scott is going to do more.”
Once he returns to JBSA-Lackland, he’s not sure what his assignment will be, but he’s hopeful he’ll be able to continue to support his squadron’s mission.
“I believe when you are a certified ranger you wear the tab,” Scott said. “I definitely believe I can take that back to the squadron and help others achieve whatever they would like to in life, in the military and just be that leader that someone needs.”