Captain Zachary Buenger, U.S. Army

2023 U.S. Missile Defender of the Year

CPT Zachary “Zac” Buenger entered the active duty Army in January 2016 after graduating from Colorado School of Mines with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also possesses a Master’s Degree in Leadership Studies from Marshall University. His military education includes: Air Defense Artillery Basic Officer Leadership Course, U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School, U.S. Army Airborne and Air Assault School. Additionally, he was selected as a military fellow, participating in the MG John G. Rossi Military Fellowship with the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.

CPT Buenger currently serves as the Commander of Charlie Battery, 2-44 ADA BN, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Following command, he will PCS to the National Capital Region and serve in the highly selective Omar R. Bradley (JCS/OSD/ARSTAF) Fellowship.

CPT Buenger is a self-starter and driven individual, leading organizational change in Short Range Air Defense formations across the Air Defense Branch. CPT Buenger recently completed a 10-month deployment to Syria, leading his Battery in the first integrated Air Defense of multiple FOBs, defending against Indirect Fire and One Way – Unmanned Aerial Systems. 

Previously, he served in the following key and developmental assignments: Battery Commander (Avenger), 2-44 ADA BN, Fort Campbell, KY; Aide-de-Camp to the 43rd Air Defense Artillery Commandant, United States Army Air Defense Artillery School (USAADASCH), Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Executive Officer and Fire Control Platoon Leader (PATRIOT), Bravo Battery, 1-43 ADA BN, Fort Bliss, Texas; Platoon Leader (Avenger), Echo Battery, 6-52 ADA BN, Camp Casey, Korea.

CPT Buenger deployed two times, in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve – Syria (Avenger & C-RAM), and Operating Enduring Freedom – UAE (PATRIOT).

CPT Buenger’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), Army Achievement medal (4 OLC), Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal and the Korean Defense Service Medal. His badges include the U.S. Army Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Norwegian Foot March Badge, and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge – Gold.

In his free time, CPT Buenger is an avid skier and mountain biker.

Defenders of the Year