Apr 7, 2020
Zac Rhyner in his 2nd life
career is currently Pursuing a Doctorate degree in
at the Duke University School of Medicine. In his first
career, Zac was and is a war hero and retiree from the United
States Air Force.
Zac completed a total of 6
deployments, 5 to Afghanistan and 1 to Iraq. He was awarded
the Air Force Cross which is the second-highest military award that
can be presented to a member of the United States Air Force.
He was the first living and second-ever combat controller to
receive the Air Force Cross. Zac was also awarded three Purple
Hearts. The Purple Heart is a U.S. military declaration awarded in
the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving
with the U.S. military. Zac also received the Bronze Star and
the Air Force Commendation with Valor Awards both in recognition
for heroism. The valor part of it relates to heroism in a combat
Zac was born, raised, and
attended schools in Medford, Wisconsin, population 4400. He is a
middle of five children, four boys and one girl. Each child
is 2 years apart. Zac was an avid sports jock competing on the high
school football, swim, wrestling, and track teams. He is crazy
about the Green Bay Packers!
Inspired by his grandfather who
fought in the World War 2 Pacific Theater along with his uncle who
fought in the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart recipient as well, Zac
joined the U.S. Air Force in 2004 enlisting in Special Operations
as a combat controller. He graduated basic training earning
the Top Graduate award outpacing over 800
Zac is married to his wife
Jillian. Zac and Jillian are proud parents of two very
energetic, adorable boys. Zac and Jillian are pregnant and
anticipating the arrival of a baby girl. Lambo is the
four-legged pride of their family. In 2016, the Rhyners moved into
In This Episode:
- [02:25] Welcome Zac Rhyner a
war hero and doctorate student as well as the 6th “P” in the
- [03:03] Zac was awarded the Air
Force Cross which is the second-highest military award that can be
presented to a member of the United States Air
- [04:02] Zac was born and raised
in Medford, Wisconsin.
- [04:43] Zac joined the Air
Force in 2004 enlisting in Special Operations as a combat
- [05:45] In 2016 the Rhyners
moved into 12 Oaks.
- [07:08] What was it like
growing up in Medford, Wisconsin?
- [07:51] What were some early
values you learned and how have they impacted you
- [09:21] Why did you choose
Special Operations as a combat controller in the Air
- [11:45] The CCT’s motto is
- [12:32] After graduation you
went through 2 ½ years of some additional training. What was
that training and what was the outcome for you regarding your
- [15:15] Shortly after the
humanitarian assistance work you were selected and assessed for a
new undertaking. What was that and how did it significantly
impact and change your life?
- [17:25] When and why did you
decide to take this long, but rewarding journey to achieve a
doctorate in physical therapy?
- [19:53] Zac was very grateful
that Duke was ranked #7 in the nation for best PT programs and he
was able to get a position there.
- [20:50] Zac feels that the
military gave to him as much as he gave to them. It always
taught him to do his best no matter what the circumstances
- [23:25] How and where did you
and Jillian meet?
- [25:31] What is it like hanging
out with your boys?
- [27:26] Where did you guys live
before 12 Oaks?
- [27:49] Why did you choose to
live in 12 Oaks?
- [30:49] Zac shares about his
experience with Helping a Hero.
- [31:51] What is Zac most proud
- [32:02] Would Zac redo
- [32:42] When all is said and
done, what will Zac be known for?
- [33:26] Which actor would play
Zac Rhyner in a movie?
- [34:05] What would be a
surprise that most people wouldn’t know about
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