The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Veteran History

Zachary R. Zenefski Sergeant · US Army · War in Afghanistan

 


A new wing at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming is called the Psycho-social Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (PRRTP). In awareness of problems from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the trained personnel in this unit work hard to re-center the focus of those returning from combat to being able to deal with civilian life.

Many of those coming back from combat face very difficult adjustments. They have lived in an environment of extreme stress. In current combat, there is no front line. All personnel should expect to suit up for patrol activities including clerical personnel, cooks, drivers, tankers, and mechanics. Incoming rocket fire, improvised explosive devices, our own soldiers making mistakes, and political correctness all plague efforts. The best comfort deployed personnel have is those fighting along side them. The closeness lasts a lifetime

When a soldier (Airman, Soldier, Marine, or Sailor) re-deploys, his/her world changes dramatically. Sometimes, the best way to cope is from self-medication.

Zachary Zenefski (Zach) is a Cheyenne native. He is a 26 year old soldier who was assigned to the fabled 82nd Airborne Infantry Division. He came from a family having lots of military members in several generations.

Zach headed for Florida to attend college but after a semester, found out that he wasn’t ready for it. He enlisted in the US Army! Rather soon, he was on his way to Fort Benning, Georgia, Home of the Infantry! “Hoo-aah!”

Zach’s enlistment was somewhat different from the outset. He became a soldier in One Station Unit Training (OSUT). This training concept was introduced to allow continuous training in certain military occupational specialties. If a young man was recruited into the Army, he would be offered a field to specialize in. If he wanted into the military police, combat engineers, or the infantry, he would go through the entire training phase at the same training base. Training in two phases could last eight weeks in basic then on to advanced training for another eight to fourteen weeks. OSUT usually lasted fourteen weeks. Here, their Drill Sergeants worked hard to train the new people, knowing they would be deploying to a theater of war soon.

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