LtCol Mike "Zak" Franzak began his military career when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 1981. After boot camp he served as an aviation ordnanceman with VF-1 aboard the USS Ranger and USS Kitty Hawk making one WESTPAC deployment. In 1983 he was awarded an NROTC scholarship, discharged, and sent to Texas A&M.
While at Texas A&M, Mike changed his service commitment from Navy to Marine Corps and in 1985 he attended Amphibious Reconnaissance School (ARS). Mike graduated Recon School finishing 2 out of 40 Marines. In the summer of 1986, Mike attended "Bulldog," Officer Candidate School and graduated in the top 10%. In 1987 he graduated from Texas A&M with numerous academic and military awards and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
Mike then attended the "The Basic School," (TBS) at Quantico VA, a six-month program designed to indoctrinate all Marine officers in the responsibilities of a rifle platoon commander. In May 1988, Mike graduated as both the military honor and overall honor graduate from TBS, finishing 1 out of 221 in both categories.
After TBS, Mike attended flight school and was awarded jets. He was winged in August 1990 and selected to fly the AV-8B Harrier. He served five years in VMA-211, the "Avengers," making three more WESTPAC deployments and acquiring all major flight designations to include the prestigious Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) qualification. After completing his tour in VMA-211, Mike opted for a ground tour and was sent to 1st ANGLICO in Camp Pendelton, CA.
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Books:A Nightmare's Prayer, June 2010