Thank you for your service
BY CINDY JONES
When Kevin Fuit says he’s a supporter of the United States military, his words carry a multitude of service and experience.
Kevin enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War in 1969, just after graduating from Davis High. He and seven of his peers, just as their fathers and grandfathers before them, all took the same path and joined the Navy after high school.
After boot camp, Kevin attended a fighter training program for pilots as an aviation maintenance worker for the aircraft in South Texas. After this training, Kevin’s company was scheduled to deploy to Vietnam; however, a week before they deployed, someone set a fire in the admiral’s quarters of the ship, the USS Forrestal. The trip was delayed, and the company ended up on a Mediterranean training cruise. The nearly year-long cruise would be the longest the Forrestal would ever take, docking at places like Naples, Athens, Istanbul, Barcelona, and many of the Greek Islands. During this deployment, Kevin’s company helped to launch and test the first F-14 Tomcat: a two-seated, supersonic, twin engine fighter aircraft designed to incorporate air combat experience against Russian MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.
As a Third Class Aviation Administration Petty Officer, Kevin helped keep records for all the aircraft involved in the war. If an aircraft was damaged to the extent the squadron could not repair it, the military brought it to Kevin’s company, who would expedite repair of the damaged aircraft so it could get back to the fight immediately.
The working days were long for Kevin on the ship, from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week, with few breaks. But he feels fortunate that he was able to serve during the Vietnam war, one of America’s most controversial and violent conflicts, and come back home unharmed.
After Kevin returned home in 1973, he worked in the banking industry for many years. It was in 1996, during the Gulf War, that Kevin began working with the US Army as a government employee, building mobile hospital units for the Department of Labor at Defense Depot Ogden.
Kevin went on three tours of Southwest Asia, building mobile hospitals for American troops. The workers were required to wear Army uniforms but could not carry weapons, and military officers had to escort them onto and off the work compounds. In 1996, over 200,000 government employees were sent to Saudi Arabia to build everything from small triage centers for the front lines to hospitals with 1,000 beds, all completely mobile.
It was during this time that Kevin witnessed some of the atrocities of war and its aftermath. He developed PTSD, occasionally gets flashbacks, and has nightmares about this time period, as well as his time served during the Vietnam War.
Kevin is now retired and spends his time volunteering as the historian for the American Legion Post 134, riding one of his three Harley Davidsons, and crafting wooden flags in his woodworking shops. He’s donated flags to Veteran organizations across the state. He makes frequent visits to the Veteran’s hospital in Salt Lake and the George Wahlen Veteran’s home in Ogden and has found that a significant need for aging veteran’s is to share their story with someone who understands. He said he often just shows up to listen.
Kevin feels strongly that the US Military not only allowed him to visit places all over the world but gave him a sense of strength and selflessness, a priceless advantage that he still carries today.
Thank you, Kevin Fuit, for your service to our country and your continued devotion to serving and assisting veterans.