A legacy of service

  • Published
  • By David R. Hopper
  • 557th Weather Wing Public Affairs

While many federal employees strive for the 20-to-40-year retirement pin, there are those who live a life of service.

On Sept. 30, in the Chief Master Sgt. Peter A. Morris auditorium, the 557th Weather Wing said goodbye to a titan of service in the weather community - Paul A. Zamiska.

Al, as he prefers to be called, bid farewell to the 16th Weather Squadron and the Air Force Weather community during his retirement ceremony after 50 years of federal service.

“Through the years, I have met and interacted with people at NASA, Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration…it's been great,” Al said.

Al attended the University of Akron where he was required to choose Army or Air Force ROTC when he enrolled in 1968.

“I just thought I looked better in blue,” Al said. “That is why I chose the Air Force.”

After four years, Al graduated and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. His first assignment started in July 1972 at the University of Texas in Austin for basic meteorology instruction. After that, his Air Force career led him to Griffiss AFB, New York, Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sheppard AFB, Texas and Offutt AFB.

“I got to be a weather forecaster for B-52s, KC-135s and F-106s at Griffiss AFB,” Al said. “I was even a weather officer for an SR-71 detachment at Kadena AB. It all changed when I was stationed at Offutt AFB’s Strategic Air Command in 1982 and started learning about programming in Apple Basic on an Apple II computer.”

Al ended his military career on Jan. 31, 1985. In April 1985, he entered into civil service at the U.S. Air Force Environmental Technical Applications Center in Asheville, North Carolina. After four years there, he applied for a position at Air Force Global Weather Central as team chief for the upper air team. He was hired and moved back to Offutt in July 1989. 

Al became an expert on the New Upper Air Validator and wrote a Tech Note about it. After several months he moved to the position of assistant branch chief.  Then, during a reorganization, he became branch chief for nine years.

“It's incredible for someone to serve Air Force Weather for such a long time and experience the

dramatic evolution of weather services over the years,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Wauer, 16th Weather Squadron commander. “Al adapted with the changing needs, and we are in debt to his dedication to the 16th Weather Squadron and the entire weather enterprise.”

“Overall, it has been a fun learning experience,” Al said. “I will miss the camaraderie and the daily interactions with team members and others.”

After spending 50 years in service to this nation, Al has decided to settle down in the Omaha area near his family. His wife, Jeanne, has decided to pursue a new career as a Lutheran Pastor in a couple years. In his ever so humble way, Al smiled and said that he will simply tag along with her on that new adventure.

"Mr. Zamiska truly exemplifies our core value of 'service before self' in his dedication to his teammates, the Air Force, and our nation, said Col. Bradley Stebbins, 557th Weather Wing commander.  In serving 50 years, he demonstrated sustained excellence.”

“I am very grateful for Al and his many valuable contributions to our global mission."