William Arthur King

1936 - 2008

Air Force
Korean WarVietnam War

Their Story

William Arthur King served his country across two of the most devastating conflicts to the veteran’s psyche: The Korea and Vietnam Wars. Perhaps as a response to this, King spent much of his time after his service in the Air Force as a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars organizations. By giving his service to these two veterans affairs organizations, King served his fellow service people on a local and national level.

William Arthur King was born on February 20th, 1936, in Oskaloosa, IA to Arthur and Mary Louise Stanton King.[1] He enlisted in the Air Force in 1953 and served in the Korea and Vietnam Wars. During his service in the Air Force, King reached the rank of Master Sergeant. After twenty years spent serving his country, King retired from the Air Force on August 31st, 1973. King would spend the remainder of his life employed as a mechanic.[2] King was very active in the veterans’ community after his service in the Air Force. He was a member and former commander of the Colona American Legion Post 1233 and the Geneseo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 223. He was also a member of the civilian Moose Lodge community organization in Lodge 990, Geneseo.[3]

In The American Legion, King worked to provide support and community for his fellow veterans, “Veterans in need of advocates to help them achieve meaningful careers, educations, health-care services, friends and stable homes are supported every day, free of charge, by The American Legion.”[4] In addition to the services that The American Legion provides for veterans, they also serve to remind their communities of the sacrifices of the service people of the Armed Forces, “Legionnaires constantly remind communities that freedom and prosperity come with a price, a price often paid in blood. They know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. They raise the money, put in the hours and bring into existence monuments and memorials to ‘preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in all wars.’”[5] King’s time in the American Legion allowed him to support his fellow veterans on the local level.

Giving his service to Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States allowed King to support his fellow veterans on a national scale. Veterans of Foreign Wars achieved a staggering amount of accomplishments for veterans during the period of King’s service in the organization,

Compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, we won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America’s active-duty service members, and members of the guard and reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan… Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, in 2005 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010.[6]

These reforms that passed due to the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars made a better America for veterans across the nation. King’s service in the organization was, in effect, a service to every one of his brothers and sisters in the Armed Forces.

William Arthur King passed away on the 27th of March 2008, “doing what he loved, fishing with his sons in Ogallala, Neb.”[7] King was survived by his wife Dorothy, and his many children, step-children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The remembrance on his headstone aptly reads, “BELOVED HUSBAND AND FATHER.”[8]


[1] “William King,” The Dispatch, March 30, 2008, pp. 10-10,

[2] “William King,” The Dispatch, March 30, 2008, pp. 10-10,

[3] “William King,” The Dispatch, March 30, 2008, pp. 10-10,

[4] “Veterans Strengthening America,” The American Legion, accessed February 21, 2022,

[5] “Veterans Strengthening America,” The American Legion, accessed February 21, 2022,

[6] “About Us,” Veterans of Foreign Wars, accessed February 21, 2022,

[7] “William King,” The Dispatch, March 30, 2008, pp. 10-10,

[8] “William Arthur King’s Memorial,” Veterans Legacy Memorial, accessed February 21, 2022,