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John King joined the Army in 1949 to escape the mines | A salute to veterans

John King - Tracey Compton/Renton Reporter
John King
— image credit: Tracey Compton/Renton Reporter

The Renton Reporter’s Tracey Compton interviewed four veterans, all members of the American Legion in Renton, to learn about their service to our country.

The interviews were conducted just before an American Legion open house at which legion members of the Fred Hancock Post 19 explained the many services and programs provided to veterans of America’s wars and their families.

Renton’s veterans are served by a number of organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, with posts in downtown Renton and Skyway. And Renton has a new Veterans Affairs office that helps homeless veterans find a place to live.

John King joined the U.S. Army in 1949 to escape the mines of Ironwood, Mich.

At the time it was tough to get a job in the country.

“Up in Ironwood, it was all iron-ore mining and I did not want to go to work in the mines,” King said.

So, he opted to join the military under the condition that he could work in auto engineering or be a mechanic.

King became an aviation mechanic working on light aircraft during the Korean War. He was a sergeant in an artillery battalion and every time the front line moved up, his unit moved with it. They would stay at a site for two or three days and move on. King kept a neatly penned journal of all of their destinations in a little notebook.

After his time in the Army, King went to college and got a degree in mechanical engineering. He went to Bendix and worked in a test lab, testing automotive brake parts. It wasn’t long after that he was hired at Boeing.

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