Continuing a family legacy: "Black Knight" Soldier proudly serves his country
September 9, 2009
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - A family history with decades of military service has led one Soldier to continue his family legacy and proudly serve his country as a Soldier.
Pfc. Zachary Sherman, a tanker, assigned to the 1st "Black Knight" Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, can always find inspiration "relatively" close by.
"The military runs in my family's blood," said Sherman, currently deployed to northern Baghdad. "I figured I would join too."
Sherman's grandfather, who served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, played a key role in his decision. Knowing his grandfather's military accomplishments and seeing him on the cover of the Nov. 4, 1966 edition of Life magazine with President Lyndon B. Johnson created a strong feeling of admiration and respect for his grandfather.
Grandfather Sherman wasn't the only family member the Austin, Texas native respected and followed into the military. His older brother, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps, also influenced the decision.
"My brother has always been a role-model and father figure to me," said Sherman. "He made a point to do what was right and helped keep me motivated in whatever I wanted to do."
Sherman's older brother inspired him to go to the Military Entrance Processing Station to enlist in the Army.
Sherman initially planned to enlist as a cavalry scout, but unfortunately there weren't any vacancies so he enlisted for his second choice - a tanker.
In December 2007, Sherman began his journey as a Soldier when he shipped to Fort Sill, Okla. for Basic Combat Training. There he met his closest friend, Biloxi, Miss. native Pvt. Corey Griffen, also a tanker assigned to Company D of the 1st "Black Knight" Battalion.
"Sherman is a good dude, motivated and a hard worker," said Griffen. "He is my boy and best battle buddy."
The two tankers and friends went through their entire sequence of initial training together. After the completion of their training they were both assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at Fort Hood, Texas. Shortly after arriving at Fort Hood the friends received word that they would be deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During this deployment to Iraq, Sherman re-enlisted for another four years. Shortly after redeploying, Sherman will transfer to Germany, an assignment given as an incentive for re-enlisting.
"I am excited about my Germany assignment," Sherman said with a wide-eyed smile. "I love traveling, it's another reason I had for joining in the first place."
Griffen said he is excited for his friend's future because Sherman earned the opportunity to be stationed in Germany.
Sherman has set numerous goals for his future. Before his enlistment is up he wants to move up through the ranks in hopes of becoming a staff sergeant.
Additionally, Sherman looks forward to achieving his childhood dream of becoming a police officer for the Boston Police Department following his enlistment.
"I knew that the experience I would acquire from the military could easily be carried over to
what I want to do after my enlistment," said Sherman.
The Army has increased his patience and has taught him to deal with anything life or a job may throw at him. Sherman said he is proud of his accomplishments and looks forward to what the future has in store. He also knows his grandfather would be proud.