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Former Cape resident reaching new heights in Navy

By Staff | Jan 2, 2010

Wachovia Bank Senior Financial Specialist Jeanie Zumar of the Fort Myers Beach branch is proud of her son. And, well she should be.
Keith Zumar, a former Cape resident, who is currently on leave during the holidays, is quickly working his way up the U.S. Navy chain of command. After an eight-year career in the service that included a tour of duty in Iraq and many learned activities, he was recently achieved the rank of lieutenant JG
Keith has also been selected and is looking to be assigned for a three-year tour in the highly skilled Riverine Force Group soon. If the assignment comes to fruition, he should be deployed and leading a unit sometime this spring.
The Riverine Group is Keith’s choice that he really, really wanted,î said Jeanie.
“It was formed initially in Vietnam for the Navy to patrol the rivers in small boats. It’s a group of very specialized forces which are now patrolling the rivers in Iraq.”î
The first deployment of the Riverine Squadron in the Iraq War occurred in April 2007. According to the Navy: “The Navy’s Riverine force focuses on conducting Maritime Security Operations and Theater Security Cooperation in a riverine area of operations or other suitable area. The force is capable of combating enemy riverine forces by applying fires directly, or by coordinating supporting fires. It will share battle space with the other services in an effort to close the seams in Doctrine, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.”
According to Jeanie, Keith will be going to school with the Army Rangers to learn ground forces and will attend another school to learn how to survive a prisoner war camp. On his annual Naval write up, Zumar was called “an extremely motivated and skilled watch stander.î”
“As a mom, my reaction is ‘Oh, my goodness,'” said Jeanie. “But when I read his e-mails about how he feels about protecting the United States of America, I think God bless every one of these kids that have that strength and compassion about protecting our freedom.î”
Keith, who grew up in Cape Coral, learned some leadership skills at Cape Coral High School on the baseball team and as a state champion wrestler. He has applied that throughout his Naval assignments. His service time line reads well:
He committed to the Navy when he was a junior in high school; he enlisted in the Navy in 2001; he began schooling to become a sonar tech and search and rescue diver; he was assigned to the US Porter destroyer out of Norfolk, Va.; his fleet went over to Iraq before the onset of 9/11 and was one of seven that shot the original missiles into Baghdad; while there, he was the youngest in the six fleets to achieve the Surface Warfare Medal; he was awarded Navy Blue Jacket of the Year for commitment and discipline for learning; he was approached by officers to enter the Seaman to Admiral program where an enlisted man attends school and finishes as an officer and later he was selected for the program; decided to attend the University of South Florida as a political science major for the program and graduated in three years; during his three years on the U.S. Porter, he made the U.S. Navy baseball team but had to turn down the offer because of his capabilities needed as a search and rescue diver; and was then stationed on the USS Princeton (a guided missile cruiser) in San Diego.
“He is now ready to get his next ship assignment where his commander would like him to stay in the battle groups and become department head,î” said Jeanie.
The younger Zumar, who is married to the former Tracy Kearney who also graduated from Cape High, is expecting to be a father again in February. After his expected second tour of duty, the motivated officer may not be ready to rest.
His anticipation is to teach a history class or officer training class in Annapolis (at the U.S. Naval Academy) and maybe go back in the Riverines for another tour,î said Jeanie.