A Look at America’s Veterans

Name: Retired U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Marcus Kinkle

Dates of Service: 1984-2004

Place of duty: medical administration, Kenner Army Health Clinic

Age: 46

Last place of duty: Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.

Family: wife, Patricia; children, Cris Kinkle, 27 years old; Air Force Capt. Marisha Kinkle, 26; Army Spc. Challice Kinkle-Cannady, 23; and three grandsons

How you would describe yourself: “I’m an easy-to-get-along-with person who likes to help people. When you’re in a job helping people, it’s not really like a job. It’s something that I actually like doing, and they pay me for it.”

Favorite food: “Chicken wings.”

The most influential person in your life: “Lorean Walton Thomas, my paternal grandmother. She helped raise me from the age of six. She had only an 8th grade education, but she was one of the most intelligent and one of the wisest people I’ve ever met. I am the person I am because of her.”

Your biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge of my life is just being able to deal with difficult people – at a personal and professional level. It takes a lot of hard work and patience. One young lady in particular who I worked with – she was one of the most difficult people I ever met. I ran into her like seven or eight years later, and she actually came up to me, gave me a hug and actually thanked me for me being supportive and having the patience to deal with her.”

Your most enriching tour of duty: “Misawa Air Base, Japan. It snows a lot from October to April. Trucks have to come in and shovel it away. It’s not extremely cold. It was enriching because that was the time the Family was brought together; not only my immediate Family, but the family outside my family. It was such a camaraderie; you bond because you’re Americans on foreign soil. Not only that, but you get the opportunity to get to know some beautiful Japanese people. It was multi-cultural, which is one of the things I enjoy and one of the things that makes me who I am.”

What’s so unique about the Air Force?: “I feel that the Air Force is the greatest service in the world. I love it, bar none. It is the quality of life; how they treat people; how they treat Families.”

What do you know now that you didn’t know while you were in the Air Force?: “Now that I’m an Army Civilian, I didn’t know the Army was great as it is. The people here are very professional. I have relatives in the Army, but I didn’t know they were a great group of people to work with. That’s honest.”

What are some of the traits needed to be successful in the military?: “Honesty: You need to be honest with yourself and other people. You need to be dedicated to yourself and the mission. You have to trust in other people, and they have to be able to trust in you.”

Future plans: “I’m actually researching that now. I started school in August, just taking a few classes to get back into the academic environment. I’m planning to either pursue another master’s degree or a PhD. ”

Closing comments: “I just want to encourage young people to get an education and serve in the military.”

– Compiled by T. Anthony Bell