DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) — When he was 17 years old, Morris Short decided to join the Navy. After graduating high school in 1952, Short would set sail toward a career that would kick off a lifelong passion.

You’ll most likely find short nowadays working on his ’53 Ford pickup in his spare time.

“Have been for 15 years,” Short said.

But his labor of love isn’t his first experience with metalsmithing.

“I was on a repair ship. It was a good, good job,’ Short said.

As a Navy metalworker and welder, Short was stationed in Little Creek, Virginia, on the 337-foot-long U.S.S. Krishna (ARL 38).

“We didn’t go to sea all that much. We stayed tied up at the docks a lot, and ships come in alongside of us to be worked on,” Short said. “My ship had two expansion joints in it. Sometimes, I’d go back whatcha call a fan tail and look forward. In rough water, you could see the joints give, and that was kinda scary. I wondered, wondered how long it was going to take to break apart.”

The crew of the U.S.S. Krishna would mostly tend to destroyers and smaller ships, working around the clock to make sure each one was in tip-top shape.

“We always had duties to do if wasn’t working on another ship. We always had shipside duties to do,” Short said. “Just had to keep it shiny and bright. We’d get inspected, get knocked down, maybe get extra duty if things weren’t right.”

Short retired from the Navy after four years, but his love of metalworking is just as strong as it was 70 years ago.

“It was one of the best things I ever did. It gave me a chance to grow up, learn responsibilities quickly,” Short said. “I learned a lot, and most of it good.”

After the Navy, Short helped with the Kansas Turnpike construction effort. He later owned a service station before working as a machine shop inspector. He eventually went on to work for Boeing.

If you would like to nominate a veteran for our Veteran Salute, email KSN reporter Hannah Adamson at