Chap's New Chapter

4th Combat Camera Squadron
Story by Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Stout

Date: 02.07.2020
Posted: 02.14.2020 13:27
News ID: 363191

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Zach Chap spends a majority of his duty days on the gun range instructing Airmen how to safely operate their weapons. Chap is a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance instructor for the 315th Security Forces Squadron.

He proudly wears the red cap with ‘CATM’ written across the front. But the red cap did not come first. It replaced his eight-point cover with a globe and anchor on the front. Chap was once a United States Marine.

For five years, Chap served as an Intelligence Analyst in the U.S. Marine Corps. Yet, throughout his career, he still found himself on the range. It helped him find camaraderie when he was attached to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in Okinawa, Japan. 

“I showed up and I’m just like this skinny intelligence dude with the 3rd recon guys, and I had to prove myself somehow,” Chap shared. “I went out to the range, and I took in everything I could to try and better myself - and that’s where it really became a thing for me. That’s what I could do to prove that I should be there.”  

After working in the field with reconnaissance Marines, he was assigned a new position, a desk-job where he spent the remainder of his enlistment. Chap said he enjoyed serving in the Marines, but he missed being outside in the field.

“When my re-enlistment came up, I wanted to go back to what I was doing, but they couldn’t guarantee it, and I couldn’t sit behind the desk any longer.” 

It was only a month after being honorably discharged when a close friend of Chap’s convinced him to give the U.S Air Force Reserve a chance. Trusting his friend, he walked into a recruiter’s office and learned about CATM as well as an open position. Chap chuckled while recalling his response to the recruiter, “Well that sounds awesome - I love guns!” And his new journey began in the Air Force Reserve.

Chap said he loves getting the opportunity to teach others and help them improve their shooting out on the range as an Air Force CATM instructor. The USMC is in his past, but he cherishes the memories he made.

“I love guns, I love shooting, and I like helping people,” Chap said. “I’ll always have that pride and accomplishment of going through the Marine Corps and knowing what I’ve done in my past. It’s always going to be there.”