Veteran of the Week: Melvin R. Shinholster

By MELANIE POOLE / Special to the Reporter

The Veteran of the Week is sponsored by the National Veterans Shrine and Register of Honor at the American Village — honoring America’s veterans and telling the stories of their service and sacrifice for the cause of liberty.

“The American Village is pleased to join the Shelby County Reporter in recognizing Melvin R. Shinholster as Veteran of the Week,” American Village founder and CEO Tom Walker said. “He is representative of the hundreds of thousands of Alabamians who have risked it all for the sake of our country and its freedom. To all veterans we owe a debt we can never fully repay.”

Visit the website, Veteransregisterofhonor.com, today and add your loved ones to the Register of Honor. Help us honor, recognize, respect and remember our country’s veterans.

Here are highlights about this week’s Veteran of the Week. Melvin R. Shinholster, born in Linz, Austria, 1948; hometown: Macon, Ga.; United States Army – 1967 to 1970; rank: Warrant Officer.

Mel entered the Army in 1967. He received his Warrant Officer Commission and Aviator Wings in September 1968. He served in Vietnam with 2nd Platoon, A Co. (Pelicans), 123rd AVN BN, American Division from October 1968-October 1969 flying the UH-1 (Huey) Helicopter. While in Vietnam, he logged 987 combat flying hours and also contracted malaria during his tour of duty. After returning to the USA, he became an Instructor Pilot at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia, teaching Vietnamese Air Force Officers from March 1970 to December 1970.

In His Own Words: “The Army gave me an opportunity very few people are ever given and that was the opportunity to fly. At the time, I flew the state of the art UH-1 helicopter which later became the symbol of the Vietnam War. I was an Aircraft Commander at the age of 20 responsible for an aircraft and crew, logging over 400 combat hours before I had even turned 21. I am proud to have been an Army Aviator and given the opportunity I would do it all over again.”