Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Christopher R. Zets entered the Army in April of 1978 for direct assignment to Special Forces. He completed the Special Forces Qualification Course in January of 1979 and was assigned to the 7th SFG(A) as a radio operator in the Group Signal Company and later on Operational Detachment A-742 as the Senior Communications Sergeant.
In 1984 he was reassigned to ODA 794 in 3d Bn, 7th Special Forces Group in Panama where he deployed numerous times throughout Central and South America training and advising key foreign special operations units. He returned to Ft. Bragg in 1988 to serve as an instructor in SWCS, after which he was again assigned to 7th Group as the Team Sergeant on ODA 721. He returned to Panama in 1993 as the Team Sergeant for ODA 797 and later ODA 795 where he led deployments to numerous countries to include Colombia, Peru, Suriname, Nicaragua, and Chile.
After promotion to Sergeant Major in 1997 and completion of the Sergeants Major Academy, he returned again to the 7th SFG(A) with assignments as the A/2/7 Company Sergeant Major, 2/7 Battalion Operations Sergeant Major, and the Group Operations Sergeant Major where he was a key participant in the planning and execution of the Colombian Counter-narcotics Initiative.
Upon his appointment to Command Sergeant Major in September 2001, CSM(R) Zets was assigned to 3d Bn, 3d SFG(A) and deployed with his Battalion to Nigeria, followed by combat deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Upon his return from Iraq, he was assigned as the CSM for the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) at Camp Mackall NC, overseeing the expansion and transition of the field portion of the Special Forces Qualification Course. In October 2006, he assumed duties as the Group Command Sergeant Major for the 7th SFG(A) where he completed two combat rotations to Afghanistan as the CJSOTF-A Command Sergeant Major. He retired in 2008 after over 30 years of service.
Since his retirement, CSM(R) Zets has continued to serve the community as a contractor presenting instruction at several courses throughout the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) and coordinating pre-mission training and support for the SF Groups as they prepare to deploy. Additionally, CSM(R) Zets is a life member of the Special Forces Association and served on the National Board of Officers for two years. He was also one of the original founders of the Green Beret Foundation and served on the Board of Directors for over three years as the organization grew from an initial concept to a significant force in the support of ill, injured, and wounded Green Berets and their families.
CSM(R) Zets is a graduate of the Special Forces Qualification Course, Ranger Course, Spanish Language School, Jumpmaster School, the Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, the Special Forces Operations and Intelligence Course, the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance Target Analysis and Exploitation Techniques Course, the Anti-Terrorism Instructor Course, and several other courses and schools. Additionally, he earned a Master of Arts Degree in Management from Webster University in January 2000.
CSM(R) Zets’ military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Combat Infantryman’s badge, the Expert Infantryman’s badge, and the Master Parachutists badge. He has been awarded the parachutist badges of Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Australia, and Canada. He is also a recipient of the Bronze Phillip Neri Award, and in October 2013 was selected as the Honorary Sergeant Major of the Special Forces Regiment.