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VETERAN SPOTLIGHT: Veteran Carl Schenk served in German occupation

Carl Schenk

Carl Schenk, 82, was drafted into the Army in 1954 and deployed overseas to Germany for occupation duty.

Although World War II was over, Schenk was one of the last be deployed to occupied Germany as the military left in the mid-1950s. He refers to himself as a WWII veteran when asked, although Schenk didn't limit himself to that one role.

He was discharged in 1956 and sent back to the U.S. and, due to lack of work, he decided to enlist in the Air Force in 1957.

While the Army only paid $52 month, the Air Force paid $72 a month.

Schenk worked in Aircraft Control and Warning in the 707th AC and W in Grand Rapids, Minn., for one and a half years. They watched blips on a screen and asked the aircraft to announce who they were. If there wasn't an answer, two jets were sent up to check it out.

Once when there was no response from the blip, the two jets were sent up and the three flocks of geese were probably as surprised as the pilots.

Schenk continued in the same line of work when he was sent to a four-acre island off the coast of Iceland for a year. In 1962 he was transferred back to Minnesota for a short time before being sent to Texas for 10 weeks to retrain for a new job after his other one was phased out.

Once Schenk was retrained as a data processor technician, he was sent to Florida for six years, then to Duluth for about six years, then to Alaska before he retired from the military Dec. 1, 1975.

Schenk's adventures were not over. He started working as an apprentice and worked his way up to a journeyman ironworker for 18 years before retiring in 1993.

He moved back to Duluth and became a member of the Duluth Veterans of Foreign Wars before shaking things up at the Cloquet VFW.

Schenk joined forces with Lil LaVoy in Cloquet and made changes to the dance program, growing it from two afternoons a month to five dances a month.

"The people want it," said Schenk.

Schenk also keeps members updated by writing articles about the latest events in a newsletter.

Something else near and dear to Schenk's heart is the Quilts of Valor program.

Schenk plans for the future are to keep promoting the various events and bringing people into the VFW. And spending time with Lil, of course.