By Molly Moser
Corporal Eugene Handke, a veteran of the Korean War, traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 22 with Honor Flight of Eastern Iowa. It was his first trip to D.C., and the first time he laid eyes on the Korean Memorial. Honor Flight provides WWII and Korean War veterans with the opportunity to see and experience the memorials built in their honor in Washington, D.C. at no cost.
Handke grew up on Miner’s Creek, and in his family, serving country became the standard. Three of his brothers were drafted – Clarence, who stayed stateside, Raymond to Korea near the war’s end, and Roland to Italy as a military policeman. Brother Edgar enlisted in the Army and served in Germany.
Handke was drafted in 1951 and became a member of the 12th Armored Infantry, based in Worms, Germany, near the Russian border. He drove a half-track, a cross-terrain vehicle with wheels in front and continuous tracks in back. Upon arriving in Worms, Handke recalls, “We didn’t go to the barracks like we were supposed to. We went into maneuvers right away.”