Navy Veteran Served in WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam

Author: MVH Machias
Posted: February 13, 2021
Category: Maine Veterans of the Month

Orlando King was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 18, 1924. He was one of four children of Percy P. King and Ester. E. Stevens King, but is the only surviving child. The family moved to Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1929 when Orlando was five years old.

Chief chose to enlist in the U.S. Navy during his junior year in high school. Because of this, he did not graduate with his classmates. However, after returning from the war, Durfee High School's principal granted him his high school diploma.

Fast forward to more than 20 years of service from 1942 to 1963, Orlando is now known to many as “Chief,” in honor of the rank he attained while serving in the Navy.

Military Life

Chief spent the first year and a half of his Naval career in New Orleans training how to weld. Shortly after, he joined other brave men and women in Europe serving during World War II. Chief served on several ships, including the USS Loffberg, USS Samuel Moore, USS Steinaker, USS Thomas, USS Rowan, USS Ariel, and USS Stormes. Chief also served during the Korean War conflict, executing land bombardment of North Korean oil and fuel supplies. He also spent nearly two years in Sicily performing ship repairs.

After he had served 22 years in the Navy, Chief opted out of service. His country still needed him, however. The Vietnam situation was starting to heat up, so his retirement was delayed for a year. After his retirement was granted, he spent time looking for a job near his home town. However, the availability of good jobs was scarce. He moved to Sarasota, Florida, where he installed gas and water lines.

Read more Veteran stories >>>

Life Afterward

He enjoyed his work in Sarasota, but when he heard that his father died, he traveled to Steuben, Maine. He felt that it was his responsibility to take care of the homestead, so he resided there until the home was lost to a fire. Chief adored the spot that his family called home and was determined to rebuild it. He did, and it was beautiful. Not long after completion, it, too, was consumed by fire. Not willing to give up, Chief had his third home constructed in the same spot.

When he lived in Steuben, he established Kings Camping Supplies in Sewall, part of Acadia National Park. He sold supplies for the many campers who took advantage of Acadia's campgrounds, including food and firewood. He also provided showers for campers, which made competition tough for other similar businesses nearby. Chief operated the store seven days a week when other stores often opted to close on the weekends. Eventually, Chief sold his business, which is still in operation today.

A resident at Maine Veterans’ Homes - Machias, Chief has taken up painting, a much-loved hobby he also enjoyed in years past. He paints lighthouses, animals, butterflies, flowers, and more. Known for his big heart, Chief sells his paintings and opts to donate proceeds to the Bingo fund at MVH Machias.

Chief has been named Veteran of the Month for February at MVH Machias. Thank you for your service, Chief.

About Maine Veterans’ Homes

Whether you had a decades-long career in the military or served a shorter amount of time, you may be eligible for residence at Maine Veterans’ Homes. Our six Homes throughout the state also serve Veteran spouses and Gold Star parents. To learn more, download our free Eligibility Guide >>>New call-to-action