Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Jeffrey Mellinger, one of the longest-serving draftees in the military.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Jeffrey Mellinger, one of the longest-serving draftees in the military.

Jeffrey Mellinger was drafted into the Army on April 18, 1972, about a year before the draft expired. Previously a drywall hanger, Mellinger was a clerk in West Germany and intended to leave the service as soon as possible. In 1974, though, he decided to reenlist and joined the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Lewis in Washington. He spent six years with the battalion, with a two-year interlude as a drill sergeant in Georgia before his sixth year.

Following that, Mellinger became a freefall instructor at Fort Bragg in North Carolina for a year. In 1984 and 1985, he served as a team leader for the 75th Ranger Regiment Reconnaissance Detachment, followed by a three-year stint as a professor of military science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In 1988, he continued his career in Alaska, becoming a first sergeant overseeing an airborne infantry company at Fort Wainwright.

From 1991 to 1994, Mellinger served as an advisor to a commanding general of the Oregon Army National Guard. He then became a command sergeant major with the 1st Ranger Battalion, overseeing the training of soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for 8 months then advising at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia from 1995 to 1997. Following this, he spent a year as a commandant at the U.S. Army Alaska Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

In September 1998, Mellinger deployed to Japan, where he oversaw joint training between U.S. forces and their allies. From 2001 to 2004, he served as a senior advisor at Fort Gillem in Georgia, helping coordinate the military’s response to the 9/11 attacks. Mellinger served during the Iraq War from 2004 to 2007 as an advisor to Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. George W. Casey Jr. By the end of his nearly three-year tour in Iraq, his convoy experienced 27 roadside bombings, two of which destroyed his vehicle.

Mellinger’s final assignment with the Army was as command sergeant major for Army Materiel Command, which oversees the logistics of supplying and maintaining the Army’s presence around the world.

Mellinger retired from the Army in 2011 with the rank of command sergeant major. He served for 39 years, making him one of the longest-serving active-duty draftees. During his service, he received a Defense Superior Medal, two Legions of Merit, a Bronze Star Medal with Valor, eight Meritorious Service Medals and additional campaign and service medals.

Today, Mellinger works for Bell Helicopter, a company that produces military aircraft. He also volunteers with the nonprofit Veteran organizations House of Heroes and Warrior Outreach.

Thank you for your service!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.


Writer: Adrienne Brookstein

Editors: Jacob Reis and Cassidy Reid

Fact checker: Bhaavana Oruganty

Graphic artist: Katie Rahill

By VAntage Point Contributor

Share this story

Published on Apr. 1, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.6 min.

Views to date: 605

One Comment

  1. Senior Veterans Care Network April 4, 2022 at 9:20 am

    Thank you for your service Jeffrey Mellinger.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Navy Veteran Calvin Leon Graham became the youngest World War II soldier at the age of 12, and the youngest recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Forces Veteran Horace Poolaw, who became a well-known photographer of Native American life.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Deborah Jo Pereira, who enlisted in the military at a unique time in her life and in American history.