Owosso airman receives 18th Wing honor

Senior Airman Zachary White, from Owosso, is seen in this May 9 photo.

KADENA AIR BASE, OKINAWA, JAPAN — Senior Airman Zachary White, an Owosso native, was named Airman of the Week for the U.S. Air Force’s 18th Wing for the week of May 20-24.

The 18th Wing is the largest unit of the Fifth Air Force and is composed of five groups focusing on various functions, including: the Operations Group, Maintenance Group, Mission Support Group, Civil Engineer Group and Medical Group.

White, a test, measurement and diagnostic equipment technician, graduated from Owosso High School in 2011, and attended college before deciding to enter the Air Force.

“I worked at a local Subway for a few years while putting myself through college,” White said via email. “I studied criminal justice at Lansing Community College for a couple of years before deciding to join the Air Force.”

White said he had always been interested in the military, and that college aid was a factor in his decision to join the Air Force.

“I had an interest in wanting to join the military since I was young, which led me to decide to join the Air Force,” White said. “Also, getting aid to pay for school was desirable to me, so that influenced my decision to join as well.”

White enlisted in 2016 and attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Following his graduation, he attended technical school at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was stationed there for six months while training to work in his field.

“It was a great location, really close to the beach, and there was a lot to do in the local area,” he said.

In his current capacity, White calibrates and tests equipment used to perform maintenance, and run tests on other equipment.

“Our laboratory is set up in two main sections: physical dimension and electronics,” he said. “I work in the physical dimension side. I mainly calibrate test sets, temperature, humidity, force, mass, light, and air velocity equipment.”

White said he plans on re-enlisting and pursuing a career in the Office of Special Investigation (OSI), the Air Force’s law enforcement agency. The OSI provides security and protection for technology and information, conducts criminal investigations and performs other duties. After pilot training, it is the second-most requested job specialty in the Air Force.

“I’d like to follow my dream of being involved in criminal justice,” White said. “I have been in the Air Force for three years. I enjoy the Air Force and all the opportunities that it has given me, so I plan on staying in.”

His biggest challenge has been learning his job, White said, but becoming proficient enough to train others is a sign he’s become well-versed at it.

For now, though, White is enjoying his current duty at Kadena Air Base.

“I have been here since February 2017, and I love it here,” White said. “There is quite a bit of World War II history here, along with beaches and waterfalls. Okinawa is hot and humid, but other than that, it has a nice culture, great sushi, and lots of beaches… The main thing I love about serving is feeling like I’m a part of something much greater than myself and that I’m helping to make a difference in the Indo-Pacific Theater.”

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