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My Dad served in the US Army 100th Division from 1943 to 1946. I'm not sure whether this picture of him in a jeep was taken stateside or in Europe where he saw combat during 1944-'45 in France and Germany. Among other things he serviced motor vehicles in the Army - jeeps and trucks. There is a crossing shanty on my 10'-by-5' layout where an attendant is standing and a US Army jeep is parked. My Dad was much skinnier than the attendant... But he would have liked the model railroad.




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It’s an even more somber Memorial Day  than usual in our group of friends.  My best friend from high school lost his son earlier this month in a training exercise in Louisiana.  Prayers for 1st Lt Zachary Galli and his family, whose funeral was Friday .

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — 1st Lieutenant Zachary Galli’s family laid him to rest Friday. The Williamsburg native, 23, died on May 11 during an army training exercise at Fort Johnson in Louisiana. The Galli family invited 13News Now to attend the service.

Galli graduated from the University of Virginia in 2022 with a degree in kinesiology. According to his obituary, he was a member of the Chi Alpha Christian fraternity and the social fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi.

Galli was trained in explosive ordinance disposal (EOD),  detecting and disarming explosive threats. His fellow officers say he was a natural. He attended the EOD School at Eglin Air Force Base, located in Florida. He was then assigned to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

U.S. Navy Senior Chief Cliff Frazier spoke at Friday’s service, held at Williamsburg Community Chapel. He said Galli was called a “unicorn” at the EOD training academy. “During the division and ultimately the entire schoolhouse, Zach wouldn’t fail a single test,” Frazier said.

Williamsburg Community Chapel lead pastor Travis Simone added, “[He earned] the unofficial designation of ‘unicorn.’ He passed 45 required tests on the very first try.”

Frazier added Galli was a joy to teach, saying, “I met Zach during a very intense, hour-long brief about the dangers of explosive ordinance. There’s usually two reactions to that brief: fear or a challenge. Zach was hungry.”

Galli’s faith was also very important to him, according to Officer Frazier. The two were in a Bible study group together during Galli’s time in Florida. “Zach put his top priority in something eternal. He put his faith and his time and his effort in the truth of the gospel,” Frazier said.

Pastor Simone read a letter on behalf of the Galli family, which outlined some of their memories of him. In one, Simone read, “Zach and his mom had a wonderful trip driving from Destin, Florida to his new duty station at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. Gail was talking about the feelings of sadness and grief. And Zach commented, the amount of sadness or grief one felt revealed how much love there had been.”

In another, “Zach and Haley, his girlfriend, were at church one Sunday. The pastor asked, ‘if Jesus came today, would you be content with your life?’ Later, Haley asked [Zach] if Jesus came today, would he be content with his life? Zach replied yes, he really was content with the life he had led.”

Simone finished reading the letter, saying, “the Army has lost an officer who would have been a great leader, who was a great leader.”

Service attendees also heard from Galli himself. In a recorded video from May 2020 on the importance of Memorial Day, Galli told the camera, “every decision we make and ever have is on the backs of people we don’t even know. They should be respected at the highest level, and that’s why Memorial Day is so important to me. It serves as a reminder to me, everyone, that we are able to live our lives as we do, freely, through other people’s sacrifices."

The memorial service ended with the playing of Taps. Galli was buried Friday afternoon at Williamsburg Memorial Park with full military honors.

According to his obituary, his military awards include the Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Basic EOD Badge.

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