By Jake Heronemus
Staff reporter

Melvin King served in the Vietnam War in the Army infantry from 1967 to 1970. He received a bronze star for his actions during hostile grounds operations. (Hunter Bohannan/Special edition photographer)

Melvin King served in the Vietnam War in the Army infantry from 1967 to 1970. He received a bronze star for his actions during hostile grounds operations. (Hunter Bohannan/Special edition photographer)

Melvin King served in the Vietnam War as an Army infantry from 1967 to 1970.

“You automatically get private first class when you go over to Vietnam, and almost immediately after setting foot in the country I made corporal. I was in Vietnam for four months before I was made sergeant,” said King.

In his time in the service, King earned a bronze star for meritorious achievement in ground operations against hostile forces in the Republic of Vietnam as well as several awards for his marksmanship with assorted rifles like the M14. “If anyone says they aren’t scared they’re lying,” King said. “I know I was scared.”

After his time in Vietnam, King went to Germany where he bought several steins as keepsakes, including ones that played music when you opened them. His son now owns the singing steins.

King broke his arm in a game of football while in Germany before he was discharged, which put him on medical rest for a while once he got back home.

After the war King made tools for Boeing, doing the same job his son does now except by hand instead of with machines.

He worked at Boeing in 1974 for a year until he was laid off. King returned to Boeing in 1979 and stayed for seven years.

After that he worked at Cessna until 2004 when he retired. In March 2012, King moved to the Kansas Veterans Home where he resides now.

“Veteran’s Day is the day when I always used to take my vacation because I think it should be an observed holiday,” said King.

Jake Heronemus is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at jacob.heronemus@sckans.edu.