George Zimmerman was born and raised on a farm in Minnesota. His brother was drafted, as were most young men he knew, so he enlisted in the United States Army in 1958. He served in Korea for 18 months, working in a large transportation outfit where he drove vehicles. Eventually, he moved into a welding position. One of his projects included building a larger mess hall for the soldiers. He credits his service with helping him grow up, saying he gained a great deal of experience that money can’t buy.
Working as a welder for transportation company
George Zimmerman worked at the Transportation Headquarters at Camp Casey. Because of his experience welding in FFA in high school, he volunteered to serve as the company's welder. Occasionally he would 'go to the field,' using his welding skills to repair damaged vehicles. During these forays, KATUSA soldiers accompanied him for training. They traveled to areas near the DMZ and to Seoul, wherever troops needed their services.
Mess Halls and Lawn Mowers
George Zimmerman recounts how he and a fellow soldier named Downey built a lawnmower for cutting brush in the compound. Their creation earned them an article in the military magazine "Stars and Stripes." Other welding jobs included building a mess hall. George Zimmerman greatly respects everyone involved in the war, particularly the hardworking Korean people. His military service helped him grow up and gave him valuable experiences.
Well Worth It
George Zimmerman describes the landscape of Korea as "something else." Winters were especially cold near the DMZ and the Chosin Reservoir. He is still amazed at the soldiers trying to get from one hill to the next in battle. At one point, he had permission to take R and R in Japan, but he felt too committed to his work in Korea and turned it down. George Zimmerman reminds students of today that Korea was important, with terrible loss of life for an important cause.