Z.D. Dean ’10 always knew he wanted to serve his country.
“I’ve been interested in the military for years,” he said. “Probably as far back as 7 or 8 years old.”
Dean said he initially planned on enlisting in the military, but that plan was met with some resistance from his father. This forced Dean to consider other paths to service.
“My father, being a veteran himself, was very against me enlisting,” Dean said. “So we started talking about college options, and I decided if I was going to go that route, I was going to go the hard way. I applied to the Military Academy, and I ended up making it.”
In 2006, at the age of 18, Dean was accepted into the United State Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering upon graduating in 2010.
After graduating from the military academy, Dean went to Fort Sill, Okla., for a field artillery basic officer leaders course. He then went to Fort Bliss, Texas, with the First Armored Division, with whom he was eventually deployed as an artillery officer to Iraq in 2011 to 2012, and then Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013.