92-year-old Heartland Hero reflects on his WWII memories - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

92-year-old Heartland Hero reflects on his WWII memories

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) -

As we approach Veterans Day, there are millions of men and women who serve our country. Whether, Vietnam War, Korean War, WWI or even WWII – we honor them.

In the Heartland, 92-year-old Charles Turok served in the Army during World War II. Serving in the Reserves for many years, he retired as a Nuclear Chemist from Dowell, IL.

Turok is a first generation American, his parents being from Ukraine.

He opened up about his experience in France and Germany during WWII, recounting one moment he can never forget.

“The closeness of our little group – Bruce or Franky or Jim and I – we were together for I don’t even know how many months… 6 or 7 months.. we were together almost 24 hours a day…not almost, exactly 24 hours a day, because we take turn sleeping in the cab or sleeping in the back-end …we spent some cold nights in France.”

Turok was a cryptographic technician responsible decoding and deciphering secret messages behind the enemy lines in France and Germany. 

He even delivered an “eyes only” personal message to General Eisenhower after the war.

He explains his encounter with a female major on the way to give that message, “I said I have an eyes only message for General Eisenhower…she says I’ll take it Sgt. .. I said, 'No ma’am..this is an eyes only for General Eisenhower', I’m supposed to give it to him...’ she said I’ll take it to Sgt. And when she said it with that voice and she was a major and I was Sgt., I handed her the message.”

Despite all of his memories at war, only one topic really chokes him up -- family.

Referring to how "blessed" he is because of his family size, he responds with tears. "The good Lord really blessed me."

He apologizes for his tears, "I'm sorry...As I was saying, I'm 92 years old..and I'm still physically, fairly fit." He looks at his wife Mary and chuckles, "Because I still dance a little, not much else.”

Turok has 5 children, 14 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. Most of whom he’ll see for the holidays.

As for Veteran's Day tomorrow, he will never forget his military service.

"I just did my duties and I didn’t do anything that other people didn’t…there were a lot of people that did the exact same thing as I did."

He concludes, “We live in the greatest county in the world and I think it’s our duty to do our duty to protect our lives and livelihood in the US.”

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