Posted: 9:50 p.m. MST
Note: The upcoming MCAS-Yuma airshow will honor Vietnam and Korean War veterans. News 11 is sitting down with some veterans this week to share some of their military memories.
The U.S. Army drafted 80-year-old Les De Jong in 1954 to serve in the Korean War.
So, when duty called, he packed his bags and temporarily left behind his pregnant wife.
"I could've avoided the Army because my wife was pregnant. But I felt duty bound to serve my country."
De Jong was an ordinance handler, which meant he reported to the Pentagon on how ready the Army was for battle.
He finds it was a valuable life lesson, as he saw how a war-torn country and its people had to rebuild.
"Seeing the people, coping with the country that was ravished, the city was destroyed. Seoul was in the process of being rebuilt."
De Jong left Korea with a deep appreciation for Koreans because of their struggles and hard work ethic.
He left the service to attend college, later working in the investment business and becoming a pilot.
Although he admits his transition back into civilian life was rather smooth, he knows that is not the case for far too many.
"One of the major problems with veterans coming back and having problems adjusting is not being employed, gainfully. This has got to be devastating. I really feel for the veterans today."
De Jong, along with other Korean War veterans, returned to Korea in 2001.
The Korean Veterans Association honored him with an "Ambassador for Peace" certificate and medal for De Jong's part in helping to restore democracy to Korea.
"I served my country proudly, and I'm glad I did."