marched in his second graduation in three months last Friday when he graduated from the Marine Corps recruit training at Parris Island, S.C.
His first graduation was back in June with fellow Class of 2012 members at , where he was and a member of the lacrosse team.
Zach's mom, Jodi, his girlfriend and five others traveled to South Carolina last weekend to see him and tour the island boot camp and go to the graduation ceremony.
Jodi said it was very emotional seeing her son.
"He was the same yet different," she said. It seemed like he took all of his good qualities and magnified them during his time away.
Zach prepared for boot camp throughout his senior year by running and working out at the YMCA, lifting weights and swimming.
That conditioning paid off at Parris Island.
The US Marines Public Affairs Chief at the South Carolina base, Sgt. Bill Lisbon, said Zach was promoted to the rank of private first class for being among the top 10 percent in his 87-man platoon.
He was a member of Platoon 3069, Kilo Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. The battalion included 523 graduates.
He arrived the week of June 11, and for 13 weeks stayed committed to some of the world's most demanding entry-level military training.
Training included close-order drill, marksmanship with an M-16A4 rifle, physical fitness, martial arts, swimming, military history, customs and courtesies.
One week prior to graduation, he endured The Crucible, a 54-hour final test of recruits' minds and bodies. Upon completion, recruits are presented the Marine Corps emblem and called Marines for the first time.
He earned a Rifle Expert badge, which is the highest of the three badges available.
He scored a perfect 300 on his combat fitess test and a 288 on his physical fitness test, his mom said.
After graduation Zach got 10 days of leave, after which he will attend advanced combat training in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Since he signed up for reconnaissance he will continue training for a year.
The training includes parachuting and some very demanding physical challenges, his mom said.
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