Kenneth Denk, Navy and Navy Reserves Veteran

03/03/2021

Paramedic Lieutenant, Interfacility and Critical Care Transports, AMR KC Metro

awardDenk_websize.jpgKenneth Denk served his country for more than 23 years, first in the U.S. Navy and then the Navy Reserves. While on active duty, he served as a Submarine Communications Electrician and was a part of the Military Police. In the Reserves, he was a Gunners Mate, Small Arms and Crew Serve Weapons Instructor.

During Kenneth’s time in the Navy, he received the Order of the Ditch three times. This includes the Order of the Rock for sailors who have transited the Strait of Gibraltar and the Safari to Suez for sailors who have passed through the Suez Canal.

When Denk reached his high-year tenure in the Navy, he returned to the civilian workforce and continued to serve his community. He has been a paramedic with KC Metro for almost eight years and is currently a Paramedic Lieutenant handling interfacility and critical care transports. He is also an EVOC Instructor, Shift Supervisor and the electrician for his facility. He credits the military for preparing him for his civilian role.

“The military stressed attention to detail,” said Denk. “If something is not right, fix it or get someone to help you fix it. I use that same attention with my patients. When they are hurt or suffering, I get to be there to make it just a little better. I enjoy making a difference in someone’s life.”

Countries Visited in the Navy

Over the course of his active duty and reserves Naval career, Denk was able to travel the world. Countries he visited include:
  • In Europe: Italy, Spain, France, Greece
  • In the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq
  • Others: Bermuda, Guam, Australia, Japan, Panama

Rank Achieved
Denk attained the rank of Gunner’s Mate First Class (E-6). A Gunner’s Mate is specialized in a multitude of weapons:
  • Arms such as pistols, semi-automatic rifles and machine guns
  • Explosives, both portable and large scale
  • Mounted weapons systems
  • Rockets, torpedoes and missiles

Memorable Naval Experience

Denk says his most memorable experience in the Navy was his Shellback initiation while crossing the Equator on his 21st birthday. This is a centuries-old naval line-crossing ritual that commemorates the transition of a Polywog (a seaman who has not crossed the equator) to a trusty and now experienced Shellback, also called a Son or Daughter of Neptune. It is a way for sailors to be tested for their seaworthiness. After initiation, Denk was officially a member of the Order of Neptune. 

Watch Kenneth Denk's Stars of Life (SOL) video