Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Military Vehicles Restored in Memory of Veterans ; Vehicles: Relatives Inspired Projects

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Military Vehicles Restored in Memory of Veterans ; Vehicles: Relatives Inspired Projects

Article excerpt

Ryan Zink devoted years to helping restore a large World War II- era amphibious landing craft on display Saturday at the Kansas Expocentre.

He did it for the grandfather -- a World War II veteran -- he never got to meet.

For years, Zink, of Great Bend, worked to restore the craft designed to carry troops from larger ships onto landing beaches on Japanese-occupied islands in the Pacific Ocean. The proper name of the craft is a "landing vehicle tracked 3."

The cup-like paddles on the landing craft's rotating tracks pulled it through the water, and after rolling onto the beach, the craft could crawl inland, again using its tracks to pull itself over the ground.

The landing craft was one of 115 military vehicles on display at the 40th Annual Military Vehicle Preservation Association National Convention at the Kansas Expocentre. Saturday was the fourth and final day of the convention.

The convention was hosted by the Rolling Thunder Chapter, the MVPA chapter in Kansas.

A tank, a tank destroyer, motorcycles, dozens of Jeeps, large trucks and even some bicycles -- all of them military hardware -- were on display throughout the Expocentre.

As for Zink, why did he help restore the steel landing craft, which measures about 27 feet long?

"My grandfather was in the 5th Armored Division, 127th Armored Maintenance Battalion," Zink said. His grandfather, Louis Zink, was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and was a small arms mechanic.

"I worked on it as a memorial to him," said Zink, who never got to meet his grandfather, the World War II veteran. The grandfather, Louis Zink, was a farmer from central Kansas.

The landing craft weighs about 36,000 pounds empty and could carry another 9,000 pounds, Zink said. Powered by twin Cadillac engines, the landing craft could haul a Jeep, a small piece of artillery or 26 troops, who would exit the craft when a ramp dropped open at the back.

A driver and co-driver manned seats at the front, and a gunner stood on a metal platform manning a 50-caliber machine gun. …

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