SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Family, friends and colleagues of Air Force Col. Zachary Hall came together March 3, for a memorial plaque dedication ceremony in honor of his legacy at U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM).
“In my office I have pictures of three close friends I’ve lost over the past five years — one of them is Zach,” said Army Maj. Gen. Vincent Barker, USTRANSCOM chief of staff. “Losing these friends is tied to such fond memories, and I will always remember his infectious smile and booming laughter.”
Hall, who served as the chief of the Commander’s Action Group, died of a heart attack last year; however, his influence through the command lives on, said Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, USTRANSCOM commander and guest speaker at the ceremony.
“This congregation of people who continue to hold him in high esteem represent indisputable testimony to the impact [Hall] left on the world,” Van Ovost said. “Together, we progress on the journey of healing as time now affords the perspective to truly appreciate what Zach Hall meant to us.”
Fleet Master Chief Donald Myrick, USTRANSCOM senior enlisted leader, echoed Van Ovost’s sentiment at the ceremony, saying, “Col. Hall was the one person you always looked forward to seeing, because you knew no matter what type of day you were experiencing, he’d bring a smile to your face.”
During the ceremony, Van Ovost shared stories of her time with Hall and how she will “never hear the mention of Starbucks without remembering his inaugural trip as the CAG chief.”
“For those not familiar, he knocked a cup of coffee onto my service dress as I was preparing to meet with members of congress and then later testify,” Van Ovost said. “I will always cherish the look on his face, and that of my aide’s — utter terror.” The smell of blonde roast would continue to linger through the proceedings, she continued.
This mishap led to a tradition with Van Ovost’s staff as they continued to spill coffee on her documents “as if to show his disapproval of their content,” she added.
“But Zach was resilient and rather than let a thing like that influence his performance, he embraced the moniker and took possession of the narrative … I heard him recount the story many times — each time the cup was larger and the splash more saturating,” Van Ovost said.
As Van Ovost smiled recounting this memory, she looked ahead at the table in front of her. On it held a single plaque etched with Hall’s name.
“His plaque will soon find company amongst those who, regardless of their background or profession, passed in service to this command and our great nation,” she said. “We dedicated, and recently updated, a well-frequented portion of our headquarters because we wanted to properly memorialize Zach and those 28 individuals.”
Myrick added, “I will forever remember Col. Hall, because it’s true what they say, ‘people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
“As we add Col. Zach Hall’s plaque to USTRANSCOM’s eternal history, his name and legacy will thrive among others who passed during their service to this command and our great nation,” Myrick continued.
Hall is survived by his wife and four children.