GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Navy veteran Ken Schneider was just 17 when he laced up his gloves and stepped into the ring for the first time.
"I had done a lot of weight lifting in the YMCA. I started watching them hit the bag and boxing, and I got interested," said Schneider. "Three fights. I won all three fights. I lost the fourth one by a close decision."
He knew three out of four wasn't bad, and it was just what he needed to fix his eyes on a goal.
"I wanted to be a career prize fighter for the rest of my life. I loved it," said Schneider.
Then, Uncle Sam called.
"I was drafted in the U.S. Navy. Boot camp in Farragut, Idaho," said Schneider.
His life took a sudden turn. What started as a draft fulfillment, turned into a 21-year Navy career.
Schneider was sent to Navy barber school and spent several tours cutting hair on Navy ships. One of his fondest memories holding the scissors was giving movie star Tyrone Power a trim before he was discharged.
"I gave him two haircuts. The last one I gave him, he says, 'Give me a Hollywood haircut,'" recalled Schneider.
Schneider remembers being right in the middle of history being made during the invasion of Okinawa, and the bombing of Nagasaki.
"We were the first ship to take in medical supplies and food to Nagasaki, Japan, after the A bomb," said Schneider.
He retired from the Navy in Hawaii and eventually got into doing civilian security work across the country; including a stint at Walt Disney World where he worked security for Dolly Parton when she put on a concert at the resort.
Now, as Schneider goes through each busy day at the Armed Forces Retirement home, he can look back with pride on a life full of service to a country he loves.