January 11, 2021
Sarah E. Ziaja is our “Veteran of the Week.” Major Ziaja currently resides in Ladson, South Carolina as a Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) Guide.
Maj Ziaja entered the Air Force in May 2009 as a graduate of the University of Portland Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. At the University of Portland she earned a BS in Civil/Environmental Engineering and Minors in Theology and Environmental Science.
During Major Ziaja’s 8.5 years of service she supported two base infrastructures and assets totaling $12.1B and deployed three times. In 2012, Major Ziaja deployed with the Army as the lead engineer for Provincial Reconstruction Team Paktya, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). While there she also led the PRT’s Female Engagement Team and numerous key leadership engagements with government officials in order to revitalize and stabilize the local infrastructure.
From 2013 to 2015 she was selected for a special duty assignment with the Navy SEABEES where she deployed twice with them to Rota, Spain and Okinawa, Japan as a Company Commander in support of OEF and Major Combat Operations (MCO) response in the Pacific, European, African and Central Command Theaters.
After her assignment with the Navy SEABEEs she was stationed at Joint Base Charleston. There she was the Chief, Operations Engineering for the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron. She was responsible for twenty-one base operating support service contracts, the new resources and optimization section to include customer service, along with the material handling section that supports the entire squadron. During this time, she received medical treatments for the injuries she sustained in Afghanistan and unfortunately after 2 years of unsuccessful treatments she was medically retired.
Since being retired, she desired to continue to serve in some capacity so when she was afforded the opportunity join and work with the people who were bringing the Warrior PATHH to South Carolina it was the opportunity she had been waiting for. It has always been the people that have meant the most to her. It is an honor to her to be able to continue service to our military and utilize the experiences she’s gone through to help them through their healing process. Thank you for your service, Maj. Ziaja!