CWTSatoTravel SkillBridge Fellow Honored at Marine Corps Retirement

CWTSatoTravel has been fortunate to have Marine Corps Master Sergeant Dave Zimmerman as part of our team for the last several months. Zimmerman joined us in February 2024 through a SkillBridge fellowship as part of the Strategic Business Initiatives team to gain experience as a project manager, office manager, and client executive. The DoD SkillBridge program is an opportunity for service members to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during the last 180 days of their military service. DoD SkillBridge connects transitioning service members with industry partners in real-world job experiences.

Zimmerman enlisted in the Marines in December 2003. His combat deployments include Operation Iraqi Freedom, Camp Ashraf, Iraq with Company A, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, 2D Marine Division from 2006 to 2007; and SPM AGTF Crisis-Response-Central Command 18.2 and 19.1, Ahmad al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165 from 2018 to 2019.

Zimmerman's other services included duties as an Administrative Clerk, Administrative Chief of Marine Light, G-1 Chief for Marine Corps Cyberspace Command, Personnel Chief of Marine Corps Augmentation and Training Support Unit, and Personnel Chief for Marine Corps Liaison Element. His service outside the Operating Forces included duties as the Operations Noncommissioned Officer for Recruiting Station Frederick, MD; and Administrative Noncommissioned Officer of Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, MCAS New River, NC. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Outstanding Military Volunteer Service Medal.

Zimmerman officially retired from the Marine Corps in late April 2024 in a special ceremony at the Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA. The ceremony included remarks from fellow Marines, the reading of his certificates, and special renditions of the National Anthem and Marines Hymn on guitar. The audience was composed of fellow Marines along with friends and family members.

Please see below for a Q&A with Dave Zimmerman on his time in the Marines as well as his participation in the SkillBridge program.

Why did you decide to join the United States Marine Corps?

I did not want to be mediocre. As a young kid, I admired military service members. I was just about five years old when Desert Storm kicked off. I remember watching news reports on TV, footage of Americans and U.S Allies fighting the war. I knew I wanted to be a part of that, and I knew it had to be as a Marine.


What are some of the skills you learned in the Marine Corps that you think will help translate to other fields as you transition to life after service?

Leadership is the most valuable skill the Marine Corps instilled in me, one that will translate to every area of life after service. My leadership training has taught me how to efficiently manage time, communicate effectively, and to think critically. But above all, it taught me how to understand, encourage, and take care of people.

What have you enjoyed most about your participation in the SkillBridge Fellowship?

There is an intense learning curve when moving from a life in the military to working in a large civilian corporation. SkillBridge has allowed me ease into this transition, gaining real-world work experience while slowly phasing out of the military lifestyle.

What has been your favorite part about working at CWTSatoTravel thus far?

The best part of working at CWTSatoTravel has been the mentorship from employees that have gone through the military-to-civilian transition experience. It has proven indispensable in developing me as a business professional and has helped me apply my military training to the civilian sector.

What piece of advice do you have for service members as they transition to life after service in the civilian workforce?

Find a mentor that can provide guidance, encouragement, and assists you in carving out a path to a successful and meaningful life after service.