July 4, 2011
In this photo taken Monday, June 27, 2011, Army Command Sgt. Major Jeffery Mellinger, 58, talks to The Associated Press about his nearly 40-year career in his office in Fort Belvoir, Va. Mellinger, a Vietnam War draftee in 1972, is believed by the Army to be the last conscripted soldier to have served continuously without a break. He is set to retire this summer.
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A homemade wind chime with the word "Whining" under a red slash is made from metal parts put in his leg after a parachute accident. Every Sunday he trims his crew cut. He didn't join the Army willingly, but as Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mellinger prepares to retire, he's grateful he found his calling.