The uniforms have changed from military to Civil Air Patrol, and now, more than 50 years after they entered Army and Air Force service, an Auburn couple is making a major impact on young peoples’ lives and possible military career choices.

Warren King grew up on Hotel Road near the West Auburn area and he recalls when his room was decorated with all sorts of aircraft from model planes to wallpaper designs.

Not far away, Mary Spofford lived with her parents on a small Perkins Ridge Road farm. She and Warren rode the same school bus and they dated some, but their paths diverged in coming years.

Mary remembers how proud she was to participate in the acclaimed Edward Little High School marching band of the 1950s, and to wear that distinctive maroon uniform. Just 14 days after graduation, she was a member of the Women’s Army Corp and headed for Fort McLellan, Alabama.

Her service included work on a surgical team at the United States Military Academy at West Point and at Valley Forge Army Hospital in Pennsylvania. She married, becoming Mary Story, and she raised a family. Residing in Michigan, she became involved with American Legion activities. She said pride in being a veteran was always a central part of her life.

Warren entered the U.S. Air Force in July 1955. He trained for aircraft maintenance and his military career took him to Japan and Korea. He worked on F-84 Thunderjets and F-86 Saberjets, but it was the unforgettable experience of duty aboard the iconic B-26 medium bomber that caused him to catch “the flying bug.” His 22-year Air Force career included mapping at Albany, GA. After the Air Force, King earned his pilot’s license through the G.I. Bill. He raised a family and did a lot of crop dusting in southern states, and his passion for flying continues to the present.

Not many years ago, Warren and Mary reunited and moved back to Auburn. Here, their connections with volunteer work for the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, have rekindled a recognition of how military service shaped their lives.

“I never forgot what I learned about leadership, discipline and self-confidence,” Captain Mary Story-King, Maine Wing public affairs officer, said. She and Warren expressed hope that they can impart to the cadets the sense of pride and the life-skills they each gained in military service. CAP cadets, both male and female, range in age from 12 to 15 years.

For Major Warren King, Maine Wing maintenance officer, CAP gives him a chance to show cadets “what it means to fly.”

Warren and Mary Story-King also take great pride in working with the Maine Wing of the Civil Air Patrol in the annual “Wreaths Across America” program in which truckloads of Christmas wreaths from Maine are placed at Arlington National Cemetery and other locations across the nation. Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, December 15, 2012.

“These wreaths on the graves of our veterans is the best lesson in the world for the CAP cadets,” Mary said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.