2022 Tillman Scholar

Zach White

Air Force
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
M.S. Emergency Services

“I hope to pioneer universal Emergency Services solutions for ever-increasing space launch operations.”

Zach White saw first-hand the power of resiliency, following your heart, and believing in yourself by watching his father transform from an impoverished tobacco farmer to community leader and college professor. Zach is honored to follow in his father’s footsteps and hopes to pass these same lessons on to his daughter by choosing to see every challenge as an opportunity.       

After witnessing a tragic accident at age 17, Zach felt compelled to follow a life of service. He joined his local fire department, which ignited his passion for helping others and heavily influenced his decision to join the U.S. Air Force as a Fire Protection Apprentice. Ten years later, Zach has served across the United States and around the globe. He has acted as a US Southern Command Air Advisor and Incident Commander for six major international military exercises. He has been an executive member of six private organizations and holds the designation of Chief Fire Officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.      

Zach is the Assistant Fire Chief for the Vandenberg Space Force Base Fire Department, where he oversees the wildfire and emergency operations for 22 space and missile launch platforms spanning 118,000 acres. He also serves as an advisor to the readiness and training of the specialized fire and emergency services personnel who respond to such incidents. Zach aspires to propel innovation and growth of the fire service by pioneering the development of space-related fire and emergency operations training that will support and protect launch operations worldwide.