Cover photo for Maj. Frank H. Zahrt, Jr. (Ret.)  USA's Obituary
1947 Maj. 2017

Maj. Frank H. Zahrt, Jr. (Ret.) USA

February 14, 1947 — August 13, 2017

Heaven became a better place on August 13, 2017, when God chose to call home the love of my life, Frank H. Zahrt, Jr. His passing was unexpected but we know he had a joyous reunion with his father, Dr. Frank H. Zahrt, and his beloved mother, Doris Zahrt Hertzberg.

Frank was born on Valentine's Day, 1947, in Erwin, North Carolina. He grew up in Princeton, Missouri, and was Salutatorian for the Class of 1965. He became a pilot of airplanes and received his degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as an Aviation Maintenance Engineer. He joined the U.S. Army in June, 1970 (serving until June 1990). He served tours in Vietnam, Germany, Korea and Canada as well as several posts in the U.S. He was a certified Chinook Maintenance Officer/Test Pilot (logging in over 5,000 hours with no accidents and more than 500 hours combat flight time), held Top Secret Special Intelligence security clearance and FAA certificates as Commercial Pilot and Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic.

In Clarksville, Tennessee, during the Fall of 1983, Frank became part of Task Force 160, Aviation Battalion, The Knight Stalkers. From 1985 to 1986, he was responsible for serving as the Commander of a Special Operations Aviation Unit in the absence of the commander and maintained proficiency as a CH-47 Special Operations mission pilot. He served as a NATO Exchange Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces in Edmonton, Alberta and as Aircraft Captain for all assigned tactical, support and emergency missions. He flew many missions into the Arctic as well as several rescue missions in the highest mountains of Canada, near White Horse. During this tour he designed and taught the Chinook Test Pilot course for the Canadian Armed Forces and authored the manual and checklist for said course. He was the only American pilot authorized to wear Royal Canadian Air Force Wings along with U.S. Army Master Aviator Wings.

He became a Master Mason in May of 1975 in Wiesbaden, West Germany, and earned his 32nd Degree in 1990 with his father. After moving to Guyton he joined the Grand Lodge of Georgia. He was a member of Guyton United Methodist Church where he served as Treasurer for several years. He loved working on cars (and learned the hard way that in the State of Alabama, you can't buy, repair and sell more than 10 in a year without a dealer's license!), drawing, painting, woodworking and playing his guitar but most of all he loved spending time with his family. His children and grandchildren were what was most important to him. He loved them with every ounce of his being.

His decorations include the Silver Star for bravery in combat, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars, four Meritorious Service Medals, 34 Air Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, the Good Conduct Medal, the Reserve Forces Medal, National Defense Service Medal, four Overseas Service Ribbons, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Vietnamese Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal with three stars. Four unit citations include the Presidential Unit Citation, the Valorous Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Citation, a Vietnamese Unit Citation, Master Aviator Badge, and Canadian Aviator Badge.

He is survived by his wife and best friend of 40 years, Debbie S. Zahrt, his children, Frank H. Zahrt III (Denise), Marcus A. Zahrt, Amanda Z. Burgess (Bryan) and Dustin H. Zahrt, his grandchildren, Morgan Zahrt, Rhiannon Zahrt, Frank H. Zahrt IV, Trace Wright, Emmaline Wright, Abbyanna Wright and Alex Burgess, his dog, Annabelle, and grand-dogs, Beans and Bella, his siblings, Marc Zahrt (Jackie), Julie Berger (Mark) and Casey Minich, his mother-in-law, Betty C. Sanks, father-in-law, Claude L. Sanks, brothers-in-law, Bobby Sanks (Poppy) and Tim Sanks, sisters-in-law, Diane Ayres (Michael) and Cathy Conaway (Glen), 15 nieces and nephews, 25 great-nieces and -nephews, cousins and other family members as well as forever-friends, Dave Cotta, Steele Clayton, Bryan "Buddha" Baker, and of course Veronica.

A portion of remains will be buried with military honors in a private ceremony at Beaufort National Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Riggs Funeral Home Guyton, Georgia
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