Texan stands tall for U.S. Army

By Darrell D. Ames, JTF-HD Public Affairs

Army Col. Curtis King (Official DoD photo)
Army Col. Curtis King (Official DoD photo)

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – Word has it that “everything is bigger in Texas”, but you’d be hard pressed to experience life on a grander scale than that of the U.S. Army. Just ask Odessa, Texas native Army Col. Curtis L. King. King is a 30-year military veteran who knows what “coming up big” is all about.

“I’ve had a fantastic career in the Army,” said King. “I’ve been all over the world and done everything. I’ve been to many places some folks just dream about.” King is the son of Odessa natives Lawrence and Geraldine King and credits his parents with a solid upbringing which provided a firm foundation for his life. “I’m not sure where I’d be without all the love and support of my parents,” said King. “They taught me that if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.”

King is primarily an aviation officer, but is presently serving as the senior Army Reserve Affairs Officer and Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), Hawaii, United States Army Pacific (USARPAC). “Author John Steinbeck once said that Texas is a ‘state of mind, an obsession, and a nation in every sense of the word’,” King said. “You could almost say the same about the Army. We are one team with a focus, in that regard.”

King recently received the Legion of Merit, a U.S. military decoration awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued both to U.S. military personnel and to military and political figures of foreign governments. It is one of only two U.S. military decorations to be issued as a neck order (the other being the Medal of Honor).

“I’m very honored to receive this award,” said King. “It’s a testament to all the great people that I’ve worked for over the years and especially to all the good folks that have worked for me. I can’t say how grateful I am to everyone. For a few precious moments…I’m back in old Texas, under a high sky, where all things are again possible and the wind blows free.”

King earned a bachelor of science degree from Hardin Simmons University in 1982 and a master of science degree from Central Michigan University in 1997. Asked what the future holds, King replied, “My wife (Wanpen) and I will be out of the Army soon and we may settle in Hawaii, but I’ve never been one to squat with my spurs on so who knows?”

The DCO is the focal point of any Department of Defense (DoD) response to a particular disaster. The DCO is a military or civilian official designated by the responsible DoD Component to coordinate disaster relief operations. The DCO, heads the Defense Coordinating Element (DCE), which consists of representatives from all of the uniformed services. The DCO is the DOD representative and point of contact to the designated Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who leads the entire US Government response during Presidentially Declared Disasters/Emergencies in any of the States, Territories, or Commonwealths in the Pacific. The DCO receives FEMA requests for DOD support, validates whether the request is something the DOD can and should do, and then coordinates access to and delivery of military resources/capabilities where and when they are needed.