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Home > Author > Jeff Zahratka
Jeff Zahratka

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Salty Old Navy Master Chief spins a humorous yarn

Background Information

Jeff Zahratka is a retired command master chief petty officer who entered the Navy in 1972.  He remained on active duty until his retirement in January of 1999.  The story is essentially an autobiography of his adventures and his personal slant on the social issues of the era. The author was initially a technical type known as an interior communications electrician, normally assigned as part of the engineering or combat systems departments on most navy ships. 

He readily communicates in the language that Sailors understand and educates the curious about ships and Sailors having been a member of five different crews. The author earned the title of Command Master Chief and spent his final tour aboard the USS KAUFFMAN (FFG-59).  One of his primary duties was counseling the ship’s crew on all matters of personal and professional issues.

Once retired with experience as a counselor the author pursued and obtained a degree in psychology from St Leo University graduating Magna Cum Laude as a forty eight year old in 2002.  From there he went on to an inner city assignment as a group home counselor.

Since 2003 the author has instructed young Sailors and their family members at a computer learning facilitator at the Navy’s Master Jet Base in Oceana, Virginia.  There he is able to keep his pulse on how the force is progressing and as the cliché goes, “once a master chief, always a master chief.” 


Birth Place
Jeannette, PA USA

Navy Command Master Chief

Author of Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms; Dogear Publishing

Additional Information

AHOY FELLOW OLD SALTS I am Master Chief Jeff (Zack) Zahratka, U S Navy (retired) and I am doing my best to contact all you brine encrusted old pirates who are still alive and kicking around out there sucking in salt air, swilling grog, and telling big whoppin sea yarns of glory days passed. I took the liberty of mailing yaíll so you could take a look at my new book (Arrrgggh, I had a few sea stories left in this quickly deteriorating old Tin Can Sailor brain). I had to get it all on paper before I reach that point where Iím eating blended chili through a straw. At any rate after 26.4 years of telling lies and drinkin warm Peronis Iím still not in half bad shape if ya donít notice the lack of a crown and half me teeth missin. Oh Yeah, before my old brain loses track of its current thought pattern, the website for my book is and the title is Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms. Please check out the site to read an excerpt or to order. Itís not a book about bombs or spectacular explosions; Iíll leave that to the great Tom Clancey. No this is a book about the odd occurrences that take place between the lifelines on Navy ships. Above all it was written to bring back your personal memories of similar events, and to hopefully generate a never ending supply of salty yarns that will forever educate America about who we are. Sweepers Sweepers is salty manuscript that washed ashore at Dam Neck beach, but trust me thereís nothing in there to get any wayward Casanovas in trouble. They own those secrets themselves. With that said I wouldnít read it out loud to young grandchildren, lest they spew out some of that salty jargon in their school teacherís class room. For all officers who may contemplate a purchase of this salty piece of work I apologize for all the colorful language I found necessary; even though I did mention that for the most part those gentlemen of the wardroom Eggs Benedict and prune juice crowd did in fact maintain a clean and polite diction in keeping with that classic movie that once debuted on USS SCOTT CCTV in 1981; An Officer and a Gentleman.Ē Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms is a self published work financed by me the author. Big publishers were not interested in the testosterone filled saga of a non famous master chief. They were seeking manuscripts from higher profile authors. That put our story out of their wheelhouse and thus my attempt to contact you directly. With that being said I apologize for having to sell the book. Iíd really like to just give it to each and every one of you. I have had the book previewed by two old salts of Americaís Greatest Generation and they have blessed it with their worthy seal of approval. And let me please say to those of you who were a part of that group who saved the planet from the Mustached Maniac, SchicklegrŁber and his Pacific counterpart, Tojo, that I am truly honored if you take the time to read this story. I say this ahead of time knowing that your personal sacrifices and hardships far outweighed any stresses I endured in my far less illustrious career. If you know the whereabouts of any Old Salts please let them know about the book. I was told by knowledgeable people in the publishing business that a book like mine, a book about folks who werenít necessarily famous would have no following and was doomed for failure. Now being the hard headed master chief that I am, I find the challenge rather invigorating. I would be extremely grateful if you could pass the word about Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms to our shipmates. So to you all, Fair Winds and all that. As for me, I personally think this permanent shore duty thing is rather over rated. Warm regards, EMCM(SW) JA (Zack) Zahratka or TOGETHERWESERVED.COM

Favorite Links

Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms
Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms; Dogear Publishing From the author What compelled this old salt to write a memoir about my twenty- six years of naval service? After all, minus a few accidents I was never really in harmís way. My personal saga pales in comparison to the perils of the many heroes you often read of on this site and others. In the beginning I created my book Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms in order to educate those who chose other pursuits, and to inform the young of what our accomplishments entailed in the last quarter century prior to this new Twitter-paced millennium. Yes that is certainly factual, but what actually developed in the process was an overwhelming desire to pay tribute, a lasting salute if you will to my peers and mentors, those wonderful people that made my career such a personably enjoyable journey. One canít go from high school drop-out to command master chief of a navy man of war without a tremendous number of kicks in the Ö. Or shall I say mentoring; and mentoring evolved as the underlying theme of this story. The book seizes moments at every turn to commend those who mould, demand, and discipline. In my book I referred to those efforts as calibration. All too often I found myself in need of timely calibration, and I discovered an A list of experts throughout my entire career. Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms is a light hearted tale. I left writing of heroics and the spectacular explosions to those much better qualified than I. Mine is a memoir laced with humor that commences on an airplane ride to Great Lakes in 1972, sails the reader on descriptive adventures throughout the world, and culminates with a retirement ceremony blasting the Pittsburgh Steelers Polka through Norfolkís pier twenty-one waterfront twenty-six years later. As the back cover advertises Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms has the right amount of history to educate and enough political opinion to cause debate, but above all it reminds Americans of why they love sailors while reminding sailors of why they love the navy. EMCM(SW)Jeff Zahratka U S Navy (Retired)
am asking all Sailors to check out my new book from Dogear Publishing Sweepers Sweepers Man your Brooms. There is some insight, some history, and a fair measure of political opinion. Being an over the top Pittsburgh sports fan I just couldn't help lacing this mauscript with a good dose of Steelerology. But the over-lying theme is always the sense of humor and unmatched wit of the American Sailor as seen through the eyes of a typical ICman. Check it out by clicking on my website link at If you are in Tidewater, Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms is now available at the Virginia Beach library. In the coming months it sould be available in other selected locations

I C Electricians
This group is being started to network both active , reserve , retired and veterans of the Navy
Group of writers consisting of policemen, fire fighters, and military members.

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