Ken Carlin, of Mechanic Falls, has two military discharges: one from the Army and one from the Marines. He is a veteran with a great sense of humor, but when it comes down to the war time, he has nothing but great patriotism and pride for his comrades and country.

Carlin was drafted in October 1955, when the Korean War was just about over. He took his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and attended radio school.

“And I woke up in Korea!” he exclaimed. “When we got there, the company commander wanted everyone who was at least six-feet tall and 150 pounds to ‘stay put.’ They needed military police and they kept me on the road as an MP. I then applied to get in as a wheel vehicle mechanic and I got the job.”

Carlin’s sergeant wanted to make him shop foreman and give him the rank of corporal.

“I never said a word,” he laughed. “I was already a corporal, but I’d been wearing an old uniform to work. Boy, did he come back and give me a hard time. I did get one rank to sergeant though.”

Carlin served in Korea for 16 months.

“It was at the end of the war, but it was still a mess. I loved my job though.”

Carlin even had Koreans working alongside him.

“They were amazing. You gave them a shovel or a spoon and they’d be an expert in no time at all.”

Once his two years of active duty in the Army were completed, Carlin furthered his military duty by serving two years of active duty and two years of inactive service in the Marine Reserves.

Carlin also took a few college courses using the GI bill. During his younger years, Carlin worked in furniture manufacturing and even owned his own sheet metal shop.

“Then an opening came at the Mechanic Falls Post Office. I started out part-time and retired there after 30 great years. My last 17 years I served as the Postmaster. And I’m a proud member of the Marine Corp League and the American Legion Post 150 in Mechanic Falls.”

After a wonderful life with the love of his life, family and work, this veteran reflects on the military and how it has affected his life.

“It’s made me a better person,” Carlin said. “It made me love my wife and family more. It made me proud to have served.”

What does Veterans Day mean to him?

“Veterans Day is special to many, but to me, Veterans Day is every day of the year. It’s on my mind every day. It’s thanking every veteran you see; it’s paying for a soldier’s breakfast when he or she is home on leave. It’s a lot of little things that mean a lot to these great people. It’s not like being a good Christian at Christmas,” he added. “We need to honor our vets every day. They are paying a price every day.”


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