COL (Retired) Melvin Jenks

Distinguished Member of the Regiment


COL (Retired) Melvin Jenks enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an officer in the Airborne, including service as a Company Commander for Company A, 1-506th IN (ABN) in the famed 101st Airborne Division in 1967. He later served as the 1-509th Battalion S3 Operations Officer between September 1972 and June 1974.

During that time, COL (Ret.) Jenks made numerous contributions to the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment. These contributions include planning and executing unit relocation from Germany to Vicenza, Italy in 1973. He subsequently coordinated with Italian Government agencies to establish Drop Zones and training areas in the region. Finally, he supervised the writing and execution of "Flaming Lance," which was a Joint Exercise conducted in Italy and Sardinia. It was the culmination of the BCT's initial training program. The exercise was personally observed by the Commander in Chief of U.S. Army Europe, as well as numerous NATO officials.

After his service with the 509th, COL (Ret.) Jenks was assigned to various roles in the Army, including Chief of the Parachute Training Division at Fort Benning, Protocol Officer for the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army, and Garrison Commander at Fort Carson, Colorado.

His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (3 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4 OLC), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (5 stars), Army Service Ribbon, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Master Parachutist Badge.


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