Kimberly King

My name is Kimberly King and I am a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer. I was an aircrewman, a Loadmaster, on C-130, C-9B, and DC-9 transport planes. Our mission was fleet logistics support, worldwide. I flew for nearly my entire 22 years of service.

I joined out of college. I was a marketing major, and in my senior year we were asked to write a thesis on a company we would like to work for. Fortunately that year, Forbes magazine had an article on top companies to work for. To my surprise the Navy was in fourth place. It said that the Navy fostered a "family environment." At that time I had just lost my grandparents, my sister and my mother so finding a job that gave me what I had lost seemed like the ideal job for me. Service to our country seemed like a wonderful job and working in a family environment, well that just seemed like frosting on the cake to me.Kimberly King

My job included loading cargo and passengers onboard the plane, and doing the math to make sure it all worked. It was a good, very challenging job, at times and I truly loved it. In our capacity, we flew all over the world, supporting every type of mission you can imagine and flying every sort of thing from nuclear weapons, to animals to hazardous material. The old slogan, "It's not just a job, it's an adventure" really applied.

Initially I went to the MEPS center in New Orleans and asked about joining as an officer, as I was about to receive my degree. But back then there were very few jobs available for women officers. In fact the recruiter told me they would only consider a woman with a 4.0 grade point average for enlistment. So he advised me to join as an enlisted member and told me that perhaps in time I could apply for an officer's program down the road.

I enlisted as an AZ, or Aviation Maintenance Administrationman, but later transitioned to the Aircrew program after talking with my Command Master Chief. 

One story I can relate, from one of the many deployments, was when we flew into a desert near Kuwait. There was a group of Marines who we flew in supplies to, in the desert. They were sort of camped out in a blown out set of bunkers.

After we had offloaded the supplies to them, they brought me a small box. The box was filled with labels and cardboard. On each piece was a letter home, to tell a mother or wife, or child, that they were ok and that they loved and missed them. The Marines who brought this to me asked me to please bring it to the post office and to see if they would possibly send these home to their loved ones. This small gesture showed me the heart of all veterans. Here they had taken the time and effort, in a bombed out bunker, to write home notes to loved ones they were thinking of. The Marines were going to move on into Iraq soon after our departure and their main concern was for their family. I will never forget that. There are so many stories from deployments, but this one truly showed me the type of people that veterans really are. Devoted and caring. Wonderful people.

My joining the military really did change me as it truly did offer the "family environment" for me among my shipmates. My friends became like my family and service to the country was first and foremost. Our missions were our number one priority and we all knew the impact we had on the readiness of any and all military units and missions.

I would say that probably the greatest success I had as a veteran, in the capacity I was in, was in doing a job that very, very few women would ever even consider doing. Also, in time I was able to work at our Air Wing as an Aircrew Evaluator, and to write procedures to better the job of aircrewmen and fleet logistics support, as a whole.

Women today, I believe, have great opportunities that were not available when I first joined. Back then people could truly tell you just how they felt, especially about women serving in the military. Not all men were so happy to see us ladies helping out and many, many, told me just exactly how they felt about that. Still, I just saw it as a challenge, but I knew I would have to work very hard to overcome the thoughts some had.

I am a small, young looking woman. I still am even though I am nearing 60 years old, and back then I really looked tiny. Yet, some fine men, wonderful men, who I have never forgotten, backed my desire to load airplanes and complete all the tasks required in that job. They gave me a chance, they had my back, and they gave me opportunity. It was now up to me to meet the challenge and to provide a service which would benefit the military as a whole. I will always appreciate that my country gave me that opportunity and ability to serve. To me, it will always be the highest honor of my life.

Today I am a life member of the VFW because my military family still needs me. The VFW provides all sorts of services to civilians and military alike. Yes, I am retired, but I still want to serve my country as best as I can. The VFW seemed like the perfect way to do that, and I really appreciate how they welcome dependents as equal members, because dependents give so much in order for a military member to serve. 

Last, I want to thank you for even asking us women veterans to share our stories. I know now when I tell people I am a veteran they look at me and think "pencil pusher."  But I was actually so much more. Sadly few even ask what I ever did, so I am grateful to submit my service to you.  

Kimberly A. King
U.S. Navy, AZC(AW/NAC), Retired
VFW Post 10904


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