“How can I make your job easier” was the directive that guided Nick Zallas through a 40-year career in the military. He served with National Guard and Reserve units in the Army and Air Force in communications and military police. Zallas was part of a response unit during the Blizzard of 1978 in Boston, as well as the Ramstein Air Show disaster in Germany in 1988. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 2009 with the rank of colonel.
This interview covers Mr. Watling’s service as a machinist mate in the Navy, and in supply and logistics for the National Guard.
Frank “Chip” Sinclair grew up in Natick, and joined the U.S. Navy shortly after graduating from Natick High School in 1970. He would become a machinist’s mate on board the USS Little Rock and USS Capodanno. Sinclair also served 16 years in the Army National Guard.
Sheila Ryan Pogarian joined the Army National Guard as a way to help pay for college. After graduation from UMass-Amherst in 1984, she went on active duty and became an artillery officer; she helped with the Lance missile system in what was then West Germany. She talks about her 20-plus years in the service, especially about her experiences as one of the few women Army officers in the field.
Ken Pitts grew up as an “Army brat,” moving every three years to new postings, including Panama and West Germany. Shortly after he joined the Army in 1989, Pitts would return to Panama, this time as part of “Operation Just Cause,” the campaign to oust Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. As a member of the Massachusetts National Guard, Pitts would take part in missions to Kosovo and Afghanistan, in addition to Counterdrug Support Operations. He retired from the Army in 2012 as a master sergeant.
Nicholas Paganella was born and raised in Marlborough, Mass., and joined the U.S. Army from the Mass. National Guard for the G.I. Bill. He spent more than a year in Korea at the DMZ, where “they looked at us and we looked at them.” Paganella speaks of his experiences in Korea and the National Guard, as well as his career as a beauty shop owner, teacher at Keefe Tech in Framingham and “Veterans Corner” columnist for the MetroWest Daily News.
Thomas Lamont was born and raised in Natick, and was studying for a career in the media at Worcester State College when he decided to join the military. He enlisted in the Army (Mass. National Guard) in 1985 and was trained as a tank commander. Lamont has received additional training as a UH-1 Huey helicopter pilot, contract officer and human resources tech. He served in Afghanistan from 2010-11. As of the interview in 2014, Lamont is a chief warrant officer with Joint Force Headquarters, Mass. National Guard.
Bill Callahan is a “30-year” man with service in both the U.S. Air Force and the Mass. Army National Guard. His active service with the Guard includes two tours of Iraq, during which he helped provide logistics and supplies for coalition forces (2003-04), as well as helped provide security around Camp Liberty near Baghdad (2007-08). Callahan would earn two Bronze Stars for his work.