Omar Khalin Mclendon has devoted 15 years of his life to the military.

He has gone above and beyond for the community even after retirement.

Mclendon was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, growing up as a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Youngstown Penguins.

He enrolled in the JROTC program at David B. Oliver high school, following in the footsteps of his two brothers from 9 to 12 grade.

“I pretty much knew I was going to join the army after high school,” Mclendon said. “The program really molds and prepares you for that life.”

After graduating high school, Mclendon started Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in 1989.

During the Gulf War, Mclendon was one of the first troops deployed during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990.

He was stationed in Iraq for a year before being sent to Baumholder, Germany in 1992.

He spent four years in Baumholder before being stationed at Fort Steward, Georgia from 1996 - 97.

Mclendon found himself stationed in several areas, from Korea to Germany, before finding himself in Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he retired in 2014.

His 15 years of service taught him many things, but the one thing Mclendon took away was the importance of teamwork.

“Teamwork is important. Even with the different branches of the service, everyone had to work together. As a whole, the Army can’t do everything by itself, and I took that into civilian life as well.”

During his station at Fort Leonard Wood, Mclendon was assigned to a veteran’s home, where he obtained a different outlook on how the troops are treated once they return home.

He stressed the importance of keeping them intertwined in the community and how important it was to never forget them.

“I had to do a little research about the Korean War and Vietnam War, and how those troops got treated after coming home,” Mclendon said. “They don’t always want to be left alone. They want to belong to the community and continue to do their part.”