Korean War veteran John Zink will be on today’s Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
Zink started his journey with the United States Military in November, 1953 at the age of 20.
Upon graduating from high school and finishing his first year at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee he was immediately drafted to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
Zink completed eight weeks of basic training and eight more weeks of specifically engineering training.
“For training we would often do a variety of night exercises including building bridges and roads with all heavy equipment,” said Zink.
After six months at Fort Leonard Wood, Zink was selected as one of the squad leaders. “There would be about 10 or more in the group, and after my leadership training, I was selected squad leader,” he said.
After his time in Missouri, Zink completed the rest of his service at Yakima Firing Center in Fort Lewis, Washington as a Specialist E5 (first class).
“We were trained to shoot down lane in mud and we learned how to build and take down points and roads and all other construction projects,” he said. “Although the United Nations Command, North Korea, and China had signed an armistice before I was drafted, the country was still in tension so they had soldiers ready at the line!”
After serving his two years in the military, Zink returned to Wisconsin in November, 1955 as a engineering student in UWM. For long, he had manual labor job. “I work wherever I could find a job. Especially ones in summer really well paid off,” he said.
Now Zink is very involved in veterans’ activities. He is the Commander of the West Bend American Legion Post and also serves as membership chairperson.
“In American Legion, we invest in your future army — we help future veterans to find their way. We also help veterans that are coming back after their serve, especially those who have emotional scars,” said Zink.
Seven years ago, Zink visited D.C. on his own to see the World War II memorial and three years later, he revisited for his sister in law’s tenant turner retirement ceremony.
Zink is glad he got another opportunity to visit D.C., and looking forward his another trip.
“My father in law’s name should be on the wall of World War II Memorial and my good old friends who actually ended up drafted to Korea, and never came home, their names should be on Korean War Memorial too,” said Zink.
Todd Zink, 52, John’s eldest son, will be his guardian on the Honor Flight.