It's been two years and 10 months since an IED attack in Afghanistan took both of King's legs and part of one arm. But never has anyone taken away his determination.
"I was dead tired running up that hill. Dead tired," King said following Monday's Division Run on Fort Bragg. "But everything that this place taught me ... It taught me how to persist and continue to try even when you don't feel it. Even when you're dead tired, keep pushing. Even when you don't see the finish line, keep pushing."
King is a part of the "present" in this year's All American Week. The theme "Past, Present and Future" recognizes the contributions and sacrifice of airborne troops from World War I to the current conflicts. It also celebrates the 98th birthday of the 82nd Airborne Division, and half a century since Operation Power Pack in the Dominican Republic.
The annual celebration kicked off Monday morning with the four-mile Division run. A sea of 15,000 paratroopers chanted their way up and down hills to a final hand slap and "Hooah!" from 82nd commander, Major General Richard Clarke.
Clarke noted the run as the last time most of the Division would be together for the better part of a year, pending upcoming deployments.
"We have almost 1500 paratroopers in Kuwait, in Iraq right now," Clarke said. "(They're) working with Iraqi Forces to defeat ISIL because that remains a threat to Iraq, Syria and our own country."
As Clarke talks the future, veterans are remembered for the past. All-American Week is also a homecoming, welcoming veterans back to Fort Bragg. Many of them stood on the sidelines cheering the paratroopers on as they reached the finish line.
"Locking arms with these active duty boys...this is a brotherhood that'll last you all your life," said Jim Kober, a lifetime member of the 82nd Airborne Association who traveled to Fort Bragg from North Arkansas.
A list of this week's activities is available on the 82nd Airborne Division's official Facebook page.
Report a Typo