MSGT (Ret.) Zac Rhyner, USAF
MSgt Zac Rhyner, 192nd Recipient in the history of the United States to receive the Air Force Cross. As a Combat Controller he continued calling in air power as cover for the Green Berets from Fort Bragg in the Shok Valley of Afghanistan.
Zac was born and raised in Medford, Wisconsin. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on July 13, 2004. He went on to complete Basic Military Training as top graduate at Lackland AFB, Texas, in August of 2004.
While a Senior Airman, he received the Air Force Cross for his actions in Shok Valley, Afghanistan on April 6, 2008. He was the first living, and second ever, Combat Controller to receive the Air Force Cross after TSgt John A. Chapman was posthumously awarded the medal in 2002 for his actions during the Battle of Takur Ghar. The Air Force Cross is the second highest military award given to members of the Air Force behind the Medal of Honor.
In addition to his Air Force Cross, Rhyner is the recipient of three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star Medal, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal among other awards. His first Purple Heart he received from a gunshot wound in Shok Valley. The second, from an improvised explosive device in August 2009. The third from a gunshot wound in March of 2013, which shattered his hip and severed his sciatic nerve. He served a total of six combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Zac and his wife, Jillian have two sons: Wyatt (2) and Jameson (4 months) and look forward to living in Holly Springs. Their Welcome Home Ceremony was featured on the TODAY Show. Special thanks to the Holly Springs Chamber and the Holly Springs Rotary for working hard to pull together the community.