CMSgt(Retired) Paul J. Zender

CMSgt(Retired) Paul J. Zender was born Jan. 20, 1941 in St. James Minnesota to Clarence and Helen (Christof) Zender. He graduated from St. James  High School in May of 1960 and married Bonnie Jean Klaras two months later, July 14th, also in St. James. Chief Zender joined the Air Force in 1960 and retired in 1989. During his Air Force career, he served as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer. As a flight engineer he flew on the C-124s with 31st MAS at  Dover AFB, DE; C-7s with 459th TAS at Phu Cat Air Base, VN; and the C-141 aircraft with the 15th MAS at Norton AFB, CA from 1971 till 1975; and the 57th MAS at Altus AFB, OK from 1975 till 1989. In 1986 Chief Zender was selected to serve as the 443rd MAW Senior Enlisted Advisor until his retirement in 1989. He received many medals and commendations during his services including the Meritorious Service Medal with  bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three bronze oak leaf clusters. Paul was especially proud of all the group and unit awards as they represented the great pride that he had been a part of in the Air Force Brotherhood. It is these friendships that he valued as the true awards. He was a long-time member of the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Altus and a lifetime member of the C-7 Caribou Association. Paul was also very active in the Altus VFW Post 4876, assisting with veterans benefits in serving on the board of directors. He served as one of the initial officers of the 57th Alumni Association, serving as Vice President from 2011 to 2013. Mr.Zender enjoyed woodworking, fishing, hunting, visiting with friends and spending time with his family and grandchildren.