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Linda Kellett
Ken Conklin, a 2001 graduate of St. Johnsville High School and nine-plus years active-duty Army veteran, poses for a photo with the book he wrote about his military service, "Don't Thank Me, Thank Your Recruiter." He was present at the Morris J. Edwards American Legion Post during a mid-February event.


St. Johnsville alumnus, Army veteran pens story about his military service

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - Updated: 9:12 AM


C-S-E News Staff

ST. JOHNSVILLE — Don't thank me, thank your recruiter.

According to St. Johnsville High School alumnus Ken Conklin, that sarcasm-laced phrase, hurled at green recruits by seasoned drill sergeants during basic training, was the perfect hook for his recently released book detailing his more than nine years of military service.

"They're being sarcastic with you. The recruiter told you a lot of sweet lines to get you to join," Conklin said during a recent event at the Morris J. Edwards American Legion Post here.

For anyone who's served in the Armed Forces, it's a phrase laden with meaning. Conklin, who has lived in this western Montgomery County community for most of his life, is hoping that fellow veterans will be drawn to the account because of the title.

A 2001 graduate, Conklin said he enlisted in the Armed Forces in November of that year, affected by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. 

"I was active-duty Army," he said, noting that he attained the rank of sergeant before he left the military in June 2011. The last outfit that he served with was the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, he said. Conklin also served with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

During his time in uniform, Conklin, the son of St. Johnsville resident Ken Conklin, Sr., was deployed overseas. He served in non-combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said, "I felt my story was unique and needed to be told. Media and movies don't depict the whole picture of military life accurately. I was a human resources person, not a combat soldier. Combat isn't the only thing about the military. There are plenty of other soldiers with different occupations who make sacrifices, and their stories deserve to be told."

During his mid-February visit to the legion post, Conklin said he addressed St. Johnsville High School students the prior day. 

"It was a motivational speech about life's obstacles, overcoming fear and not being afraid to take on challenges when an opportunity presents itself," he said.

Independently published through AuthorHouse, Conklin's book has been available through and book sellers such as Barnes and Noble since mid-summer.


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