Bruce C. Zenk, 65, passed away at his home in Young America, Minnesota on 17 May 2005 after a three-year battle with cancer.
Born in Sisseton, South Dakota on 18 December 1939, he graduated from South Dakota State University with a degree in Pharmacy and received a commission as an Infantry Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. After a one-year pharmacy internship in Minneapolis, Bruce entered active duty service and attended the Infantry Officers Basic Course. He was selected to attend the Rotary Wing Aviator Course (Class 63-7).
In January 1964, Bruce was assigned to the 119th Aviation Company in Vietnam where he flew both the slick and gunship version of the UH-1B. Because of his prior pharmacy training, he received a branch transfer to the Medical Service Corps in June 1964 and was transferred to the 57th Medical Detachment in Soc Trang. When the 82nd Medical Detachment arrived in Vietnam in October 1964, Bruce, Ernie Sylvester, and Si Simmons were transferred from the 57th into the 82nd to teach the new pilots the tactics and ethos instilled in them by Major Kelly. Completing his one-year tour in January 1965, Bruce had earned the Air Medal with Valor and 22 oak leaf clusters, had flown 747 hours of combat flight time, and helped to save hundreds of lives.
Upon his return from Vietnam, Bruce was married to Betty Remund. The couple made their home at Fort Riley, Kansas where he served as a pilot with the 159th Medical Detachment until a serious back injury forced him from the cockpit. In May 1968, he completed his military service at DeWitt Army Hospital where he served as a pharmacist.
Bruce and his family moved to Virginia, Minnesota where he worked at the local medical clinic. In 1975, Bruce and Betty purchased the local pharmacy in Lake Benton, Minnesota where he served on the school board and held positions in both the VFW and American Legion. In 1984, they sold their store and moved to Burnsville, Minnesota. He accepted a position with Snyder Drug where he continued his work as a dedicated and professional pharmacist until his retirement in 2002.
Bruce is survived by Betty Zenk, his loving wife of 40 years; his daughter Debbie and husband SSG Michael Otte of Honolulu, Hawaii; his son CPT Patrick and wife Alexa Zenk of Wiesbaden, Germany; grandchildren Kayla and Noah; sister Paula Neiburg of Plymouth, Minnesota; and brother Rodney of Nemo, South Dakota. He was preceded in death by his parents and older brother Perry.