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Retired U.S. Marine Major Joins UTSI as Special Assistant to Daniel

Scott W. Van Zandbergen of Manchester, a retired U.S. Marine Corps major, has joined The University of Tennessee Space Institute as special assistant to Donald C. Daniel, UT associate vice president and UTSI’s chief operating officer.

The Illinois native’s new position entails organizing and leading a multitude of high profile projects for Daniel, while interacting continuously with UTSI faculty, staff and students. He also is to conduct independent research on UT, state and national issues.

“Scott Van Zandbergen is exactly the person we need at UTSI to lead a wide variety of activities directly for me,” Daniel said. “We are extremely fortunate to have someone with his very impressive credentials and experience join us.

He hit the deck running from the first hour he was here, and I am totally confident that he will serve not only me but all of UTSI very well.”

Born in Moline, Ill., Scott grew up in rural Carthage, Illinois, where his parents, Richard and Marlene Souder, still reside. A retirement service marking his 22-plus years of military service was held at his parents’ home. It was conducted by Col. Albert T. Graham, retired, U.S. Marine Corps.

Van Zandbergen received an associate degree in accounting from Robert Morris College in Illinois in 1983. Five years later he graduated from Western Illinois University (WIU) with a bachelor’s degree in business.

He and his wife, Diana, have five children. Their three younger children, Nicholas, 17, Ethan, 16, and Emily, 13, moved with their parents to Manchester this past December. The older two, Adam, 22, and Benjamin, 20, remained in Fredericksburg, Va.

Scott’s last duty assignment was as the staff secretary for the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va. He entered the Marine Corps as a private in December 1983 and served with VMAT-203 (Harrier training squadron) at Cherry Point, N.C.

After earning his degree at WIU, Van Zandbergen was commissioned a second lieutenant. Upon completion of training at Quantico, Va., and Camp Lejeune, N.C., he was assigned to the Third Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan.

Arriving in Okinawa during October, 1989, he was first assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion as the adjutant/personnel officer. It was during this tour that he successfully completed Army Airborne training and Navy SCUBA training. In June1992, he was reassigned to the division headquarters to serve as the division adjutant.

On Nov. 30, 1992, he was reassigned as the aide-de-camp to the commanding general, where he served until being reassigned in December 1993 as the Division G-1 operations officer.

In August 1994, Scott was reassigned to serve as the division personnel officer and remained in this position until his transfer back to the United States during May 1996, to attend Amphibious Warfare School (AWS) in Quantico, Va.,
Completing school in May 1997, Van Zandbergen was assigned as the adjutant with Marine Helicopter Squadron One, the prestigious Presidential Helicopter Squadron, located at Quantico. During this assignment, he assumed the additional duty as an assistant White House liaison officer, which afforded him the opportunity for worldwide travel in support of the President.

During June 2001, he was transferred to Headquarters Marine Corps at the Pentagon, where he was assigned to the office of the Director, Marine Corps Staff as the administrative officer and assistant secretary to the general staff. He was reassigned in June 2004 to his final assignment in Quantico.

Personal awards received during his military career include the Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, Navy Commendation Medal with one gold star, and the Navy Achievement Medal.