Kenneth Leslie Viles was born in Ontario, OR on September 30, 1932. He was the seventh of nine children (eight boys and one girl), and all of his brothers also served in the military. Ken joined the Army march 16,1951,took his basic training in Hawaii and was shipped to Korea after a short leave on the Island.
He was serving as an assistant B.A.R. man when he was captured on September 29,1951 after his forward patrol base was overrun by Chinese. He was held behind their lines and forced to build bunkers for about two and half months. It was here he dropped from 182 lbs. to less then 100 lbs. due to amebic dysentery and not being able to keep food down. He was marched to Chaingsong, North Korea where he was held in Prison Camp #1 near the Yalu River until his released at Panmunjom on August 21,1953 the 17th day of operation "Big Switch."
After returning home, Ken married his high school sweetheart, finished his hitch in the Army (discharged March 26,1954 as a PFC, raised four children and worked for 39 years for the Boeing Aircraft Co. retiring at the end of 1994.
Ken lives in Vancouver, WA and stays busy with family (he has 15 grandchildren) and several veterans organizations. He has been active in the American Ex-Prisoners of war since 1986 and served as Commander of Fort Vancouver Chapter for eight years, as WA State Commander for a year, after going through the chairs and has served four years as North West Director. He also belongs to the Korean War Veterans Association and the American Legion.