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After getting off the boat, Wisconsin native Bill Van Ark stated that they were in Korea for the conflict there in a matter of a day.
“I met with my platoon leader and he informed me that my job was simply when we pushed through, to make sure that everybody was closed up and tight. I thought that’s pretty easy, I can handle that. On our way up to the front, the first platoon that was through, the platoon leader stepped on a mine and he died.”
Van Ark’s role quickly changed. “I had been in Korea for four days now. And this was my indoctrination to fire”, he stated. “It didn’t take long to learn how to manipulate through the maze of the infantry life.”
Our John Mercure asked if Van Ark was ever afraid.
“Absolutely. Anybody who says he wasn’t afraid is not telling the truth,” Van Ark replied.
After being a part of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, Van Ark was grateful that this opportunity was made available to him.
“I thank the Honor Flight program for that forever,” he stated.
In addition, Van Ark was thrilled that his escort was his son, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Listen to the full interview in the podcast player above.