North Hills honors a veteran of its own


Thomas Wanker and Connor Wiliiamson, Staff Writers

Veteran’s day is approaching. It is the day where all Americans join together to thank our nations veterans, no matter how old they may be. We, as Americans, have given our support for both the troops overseas and those who have already served or gave their lives to protect our freedoms. Cities all over the country have parades in honor of the brave men and women who have served our country in times of peace and war. One of our local veterans, and faculty here at North Hills, has agreed to share his experience in the military. Mr. McKellar served with the U.S Army’s military police from 1970-1973, where he was stationed in Bamberg, Germany. We sat down with Mr. McKellar, the director of safety and security for the North Hills School District, to ask him about his life both in the military and after the military. We also asked for some of his opinions about how veterans are treated today.

Q: What was it like?

A: It was like a regular police job, we did city patrols with the German police, and we did some patrols along the East German border. We did everything from vehicle stops to criminal investigations. I had to take special MP training for Europe so we could understand the signs and speak some of the language.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in the military?

A: The job itself, dealing with police work that applied to the military.

Q: How was Bamberg?

A: Great little town, lots of fun. The people were nice, it’s a historic town in Germany, matter of fact it’s the Catholic center of Germany. The German people treated the Americans there with respect, especially the military personnel.

Q: What was the most dangerous situation you’ve been in?

A: When I went to a report of German and American soldiers firing at cars, when we arrived our own people fired us upon. The other was when I was on traffic duty and a tank almost ran over my partner and I. Another was an airplane doing a strafing exercise called REFORGER, and crashed into an APC and killed the pilots and all eight men inside the APC.

Q: What was it like to finally come home?

A: When you were in the army for three years, all you thought about was getting home. I’m a still friend with some of the other guys from the military police; we get together every couple years.

Q: When you came home after your tour in the military how did everything look?

A: Everything was totally different, all your friends were gone, the job market wasn’t too great, I worked minimum wage while I went to community college.

Q: How did basic change you as a person?

A: You mature when you’re in the military, it gives you responsibility, and you learn leadership policies. You learn how to take orders and give orders. I was a desk sergeant when I left and I was in charge of thirty guys in the military police.

Q: What was biggest physical change that impacted you as a person?

A: I learned about responsibility, growing from a young man into an adolescent in high school to and adult in the military was a life changing experience.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge veterans face today?

A: I think today, the veterans don’t get and support they need. We have so many homeless vets out on the streets every day.

Q: In your opinion, is there anything the government could be doing different for our veterans?

A: Give them more support, and give the veterans hospitals more and staff. We need more support for our wounded veterans.

This interview showed how veterans feel about their special day. Mr. McKellar experienced three years of military life during the Vietnam War. He helped clean up Germany as their police. A veteran experiences the heart of America’s problems against war. No one understands what he or she has gone through until you hear his or her stories. Mr. McKellar has now devoted his life to North Hills School District as the security for our school. We just want to thank this man for his service in Germany and his work going on right now at North Hills School District.