In November 1953 dad enlisted in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper. He enlisted with a hometown buddy, Kenny, for whom Im named after. They spent their first tour in Europe with the 11th Airborne Division. When he wasn't training dad did all the things soldiers normally do overseas, traveling, sight seeing, and enjoying Germany. One of his main interests was football, playing throughout Europe against other Army teams.
After their tour in Europe dad and his friend Kenny came back home to Sandpoint. Dad worked in the local area but became dissatisfied with civilian life and decided to go back into the Army. At about the same time he met my mom. They were married in Coeur d Alene , Idaho during the Fall of 1959. As soon as they were married the Army posted the new couple to Fort Campbell Kentucky and shortly after their arrival, in the Summer of 1960, my older brother Wayne was born. It was from this unit, the elite 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles," that dad later volunteered for Special Forces training.
In the late Fall/early Winter of 1966, the Army planned a major operation called "OPERATION ATTELBORO,". Dad became involved with the operation simply by chance as a passenger on an evacuation helicopter. However, during the battle he volunteered to stay behind with the Mobile Strike (MIKE) Force and fight (you can read the whole story here). His position was overrun by the enemy, forcing dad, another SF soldier, and two Chinese mercenaries (Nungs) to escape and evade the enemy. Dad died during the evasion but his body was never recovered. He has been accounted for as Missing in Action since November 1966. He received periodic promotions to the rank of Master Sergeant until he was later presumed dead.
His decorations include: Silver Star, Bronze Star with "V" devise and oak leaf, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.