Michael Shane Zavodny joined the Army at the age of 20, in 1993. He completed Basic Training and AIT at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, to become a combat engineer. His first duty station was Germany with 1st Armored Division. Zavodny’s first deployment was to Somalia in 1993. His second deployment was to Bosnia in 1995. After returning from Bosnia, he PCS’d to Fort Belvoir, VA and was assigned to Military District of Washington (MDW), doing confined space and collapsed structure rescue. In 1998, he PCS’d to Fort Hood, TX at 4ID and soon deployed 2 different times. First deployment with 4ID in October 1998 to Kosovo on a security mission.
The next deployment was to Iraq in 1999 for an Intrinsic Action. In 2001 Zavodny re-enlisted & changed his MOS to food service & was then stationed at Fort Leavenworth, KS. At Fort Leavenworth he worked at the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) until 2005. He then did a 1 year tour in South Korea at Camp Casey, with the 1/15th Field Artillery, pulling security at the DMZ. In February 2006, he was stationed back at Fort Leavenworth, KS until he came on orders to Fort Irwin, CA in 2007, as the OPFOR at The National Training Center with 11th ARC. In 2009 his orders were to Fort Bliss, TX with 11th Air Defense.
In December 2009 he was station back at Fort Leavenworth, KS until January 2011 when he was sent to Fort Knox, KY and immediately deployed to Afghanistan with 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. On September 13, 2011, Staff Sergeant Zavodny was injured by Indirect Fire (IDF) blast that caused the vehicle he was in to roll down the side of the mountain during his deployment to Afghanistan. He sustained a severe concussion, three broken ribs, three compressed disks in his cervical spinal area, torn tendons in his right arm, and pinched nerves in the lumbar spinal region. He was airlifted to Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan, where he stayed there for a week until a flight was ready to go to Landstuhl, Germany.
After he arrived to Landstuhl Military Hospital, we was told that the concussion that he suffered caused him to have mild TBI, which he loses his short term memory, stammers his words, and blurs his vision. He was treated at Landstuhl hospital for two weeks then sent to the United States for further treatment and therapy. He arrived at Walter Reed Bethesda late November 2011. SSG Zavodny stayed at Walter Reed until August 2012, he was then transferred to Fort Belvoir, Virginia hospital, to continue his care at both hospitals, until he was medically retired on August 28, 2014, after more than 21 years of active duty service.
MSM- Military Service Medal for outstanding service
Army Accommodation Medal (3)
Army Achievement Medal (4)
Army Good Conduct Medal (7)
National Defense Medal (2)
…. along with various other accommodations medals & awards
I found out about Hickory Hills Veterans Lodge through a buddy of mine at church one Sunday afternoon and he had told me that he would pass my name on to Mr. Orin Jackson. Orin contacted me a couple weeks before rifle season and asked me if I would be interested in doing a hunt up at the lodge? Of course I couldn’t pass up a deer hunt and so he gave me directions. I was so looking forward to this hunt, that I put everything I had to do with hunting and every cold weather gear I had in my truck.
I arrived late in the evening to the lodge and I met Orin and he introduced me to a couple of the hunting guides. We stayed up late and talked about my military experience and what kind of hunting I have done in my years. The next morning was an early rise. I had a couple cups of coffee and we set up the plan where I was going to sitting at and left out on a long hike through the trails. Deer were sited but they never came my way. I didn’t see anything that morning and so they called it in and we went back for some hot breakfast. We went back out after breakfast and this time we paired up and walked the fields. I saw a couple of does and a buck, but they were too far for me to get bead on them. I didn’t have any luck that time neither and so we went back in for lunch. We made plans on what we were going to do for the next round of trying to locate a deer.
We set out once again out in the fields. The end of the day came quick and no luck still with fulfilling a deer tag. It’s Saturday night and while we are sitting around the wood burning stove, we make plans for Sunday morning. We set out for a walk in the field and stood at end of the field and waited for any deer that would come through the pass. We heard noises out in the trees but nothing ever came out. I really enjoyed my time up at the lodge even though I didn’t get to fill my freezer with some venison. I was treated with respect and treated like I was one of the family. I might have not filled my tags but I sure did fill my belly. Both days I was there at the lodge, there was plenty of food and drinks to take care of a platoon. I am looking forward to the next invitation for another hunt at Hickory Hills Veterans Lodge.
Michael Shane Zavodny
US Army (Retired)
WWP TRACK Alumni