WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – From the end of the Vietnam War to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Wichita veteran Tim Korte saw a tremendous amount of change in his 21-year career in the military. But yet, it still was not enough for him.
Korte grew up in Arkansas City. He enlisted during the final months of the Vietnam War, a time when public support of the military was low.
“I had always wanted to be in the military, but Vietnam was such that you really couldn’t say that out loud,” said Korte.
But that did not stop him in his pursuit of serving for the United States, which would ultimately lead to his rank of U.S. Army Major.
“Between the Army and the Navy, about 30 years service,” said Korte.
After two years as a military police officer, Korte applied for officer candidate school.
“I was selected and assigned as an armor officer,” said Korte. “First duty assignment was in Fort Hood, Texas with the Second Armored Division.”
After Korte was assigned to Fort Hood and then to Fort Riley, he became a training officer with the army reserve command. Meanwhile, tensions between America and the U.S.S.R. grew.
Korte says, “My most important role was to ensure that the knowledge that I had to share as a training officer or an educator was actually shared properly.”
He spent the next six years with the Massachusetts National Guard. During that time, the Gulf War was fought and won.
“We were actually getting ready to move out, actually ready to ship out when the war started,” said Korte. “and then the war was over.”
He spent 21 years active duty in the military, but he did not stay away for long.
In 2007, Korte was hired by the navy as an instructor. From 2011 to 2016, he trained high-ranking military officials from around the world.
“We’d provide them equipment,” said Korte. “They’d also need to be taught how to get parts for that equipment.”
Korte says his time in the military gave him a unique perspective on the treatment of veterans throughout the years.
“I saw the whole gambit from you know, how stupid can you be to thank you for your service,” said Korte. “Twenty-one years later to being told, you know, thank you for your service…it’s, it’s sad in a way.”
Korte continues to serve his community as he spends much of his time volunteering as an advocate for the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center and as a part of the Great Plains Search and Rescue Team.
If you would like to nominate a veteran for our Veteran Salute, email KSN reporter Hannah Adamson at firstname.lastname@example.org.