It’s been a busy and challenging 90 days for Homer High School class of 2014 grad Zachary Gardner. Last week he returned from completing his boot camp training to become Pvt. Zachary Gardner U.S. Marine and signed up to marry his high school sweetheart all while being welcomed as a Hometown Hero. “The last few months have certainly been the most challenging months of my life. Boot camp is mentally and physically difficult to be sure. The mental challenges were worse than the physical challenges, the lack of sleep, being exhausted, but looking back I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it. The self-improvement physically and mentally and to be a U.S. Marine was worth it all,” Gardner said in an interview. He admitted that his fiancé wasn’t all that excited about him becoming a Marine, “She was reluctant she didn’t really like the idea at first but after the first few months of knowing that I was going to enlist she warmed up to the idea and now that I’ve finished boot camp she loves it,” he said.
His bride will be off to college at Northern Arizona University while Hometown Hero Gardner heads off to combat training in San Diego. The couple will be apart for the next six months then plan to be together when Zachary gets his first duty station. Gardner says it was love of country that called him to the Marine Corp. “I’ve always loved the United States growing up. It’s the best country in the world and I wanted to serve my country while doing something I could be proud of and being the best I could be. It was important for me to know that I could complete booth camp and be among the best,” he said. Gardner says he plans on completing his five year enlistment and then return home to become an Alaska State Trooper. Pvt Zachary Gardner, proud U.S. Marine, proud husband and proud Alaskan. Congratulations Marine!