Uncle Bob (need name)

Mr. Edward J. Bonk 

Edward J. Bonk Sr., born in 1923, is a World War II United States Army Veteran.

Mr. Bonk was a Private First Class in the Guard Patrolman 522. He was 18 when he enlisted against his parents' wishes. His older brother was already gone to war giving him an exemption because of the family's farm responsibilities, but duty and honor was very important to him so he enlisted. He was deaf in one ear but was able to listen keenly enough to pass the required physical. He often teases that he enlisted in the war because he really wanted off the farm.  

On February 2, 1943, He started out at Percy Joan’s Military hospital in Battle Creek Michigan until he refused to let a General bring in a non authorized girl. Not aligning with his general’s plan got him a trip on the Queen Mary to Europe. He remembers being afraid on the ship because they didn’t have escorts and he couldn’t swim. Once periscopes surfaced when they were near Scotland and they all thought they were sunk but it turned out to be a fleet of US subs. He also remembers the ship’s living quarters being cramped with close to 15,000 fellow servicemen.

 

Mr. Bonk’s assignment was in a field hospital in Kington (Herefordshire, England), where he remembers witnessing the passing of and caring for an unbelievable amount of servicemen that suffered major injuries. His experience intensified as after the Battle of the Bulge, they had to vacate the field hospital in Kington to escape the immense threat of the enemy.

 

His returned back to the US was not without its excitement. While traveling from Europe to  Presidio in San Francisco, California, he and his fellow servicemen believed they were going to the Pacific Ocean Theater to fight. One day while traveling to their destination, their transport stopped, they heard commotion and thought that all hell had broken, only to discover, the commotion was a celebration:  The 2nd atom bomb was dropped in Nagasaki, Japan forcing the enemy to surrendered.

 

Mr. Bonk’s career after his service includes owning a bar establishment with his brother and wife, Cecilia, called, “The Church”, and a successful career as a skilled pipefitter where his talents earned him union membership. He worked until he was 75 years of age.

 

Mr. Bonk and wife have four children; two boys and two girls. His wife, Cecilia, the love of his life passed away in 2001.

MORE INTERESTING/FUN FACTS ABOUT HIS WWII EXPERIENCE

  • He was paid $300 for his service and $0.55 travel pay!

  • His buddy had three girlfriends in Chicago that he would write to, but to save time, he would just write the same letter to all of them. One day he got caught, as the three young women worked at the same factory and one day compared letters!

  • In efforts to secure a school loan, he discovered the Army had him listed as deceased. Being a fighter for what he’s due, he told the associate, “if I’m dead, then give me my life insurance” (he later found out that two soldiers were issued the same service number which the Army said did not happen often).

  • At age 95, Mr. Bonk is in great health and does not have to take one doctor prescribed medication!

  • He was recently awarded a Honor Flight Trip.

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