SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — For 20 years, one veteran served all over the United States during his time in the Coast Guard.

“I got word that I had been reclassified for the draft so, I had to make up my mind whether I was going to wait and take my chances with the draft,” U.S. Coast Guard Veteran William Flory said.

With the Vietnam War ongoing, William Flory chose to enlist in the U.S. Coast guard in 1962.

“I don’t think there was even 30,000 people total. You can take the entire coast guard and put it on a Navy troopship and have leftover people,” William Flory said.

Flory took on a number of positions in his early days of service. He would eventually land in the northernmost U.S. state.

“What I was doing was I worked in the supply depot where we ordered and received supplies for all the units in the state of Alaska. Then over at the air station over in Annette, they had the airplanes and the helicopters,” Flory said.

Flory found a way to extend his stay in Alaska another two years, but it wasn’t until 1971 when Flory made a career change.

“I went to school in North Carolina and then I put in for a helicopter unit because I had been around the helicopters up in Annette. I put in for all helicopter units out of school and they sent me to San Diego,” Flory explained.

For the next four and a half years, Flory would station in San Diego, learning the ins-and-outs of helicopters ahead of his next chapter in the Polar Operations Division.

“Which meant we flew the small helicopters and put them on icebreakers and we went up to the Arctic northwest or the Arctic northeast or the Antarctic,” Flory said.

During his two tours to the Arctic Northwest, he said it was like being in a National Geographic documentary.

“We get out there and flying along and all of a sudden, looks like the horizon is moving. It was a herd of Caribou about three quarters of a mile long and they were going across the tundra lickity split. And then all of a sudden we look up and there was open water up ahead. When they hit the water, we found out. It was like a mini eclipse of the sun. The mosquitoes came off of them. I mean it literally blacked the sky for about ten to fifteen minutes,” Flory explained.

In October 1982, Flory would call it a career and end his time with the U.S. Coast Guard.