It’s not often that we run across a person who’s had two successful careers in one lifetime, a wonderful fifty-year marriage and the chance to raise two lovely children. Well, that’s exactly what H.T. Linke has done and all while serving his country as a soldier in the U.S. Army and as a public relations professional for the American Red Cross.
“The best phrase to describe my husband, H.T., is that he is a ‘True Gentleman’, which is the creed of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon,” said wife Carol Linke. “To say that he is a kind, loving, caring, and understanding husband and father is an understatement. We have been married almost 50 years and he is as much a gentleman today as he was when we were dating, still opening and closing doors and allowing me to enter first.”
Linke had a distinguished military career with assignments that have taken him from the Berlin Wall in Cold War Germany to the rice paddies of Vietnam to the frozen hills near the DMZ in Korea, and all across the United States. He’s led men into combat; served as a battalion commander; was press aide to the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon; and Chief of Public Affairs for both the United Nations Command in Korea and U.S. Army Pacific in Hawaii.
“As a Green Beret in Vietnam and Public Affairs Officer, my father was an amazing leader and wasn’t afraid to face challenges,” said daughter Chali Linke. “He rarely speaks of his experience in the Vietnam War but I know that he was an honorable soldier. My father felt an immense sense of pride serving his country as an Army officer and protecting our freedoms. I have always admired him for his bravery, perseverance, devotion to the military and extraordinary heroism in the face of danger. It is no surprise that his ring tone is the Army Song and to this day he will come to his feet when he hears it.”
Ask any military father and they’ll tell you that raising a family while serving in the military is a huge challenge. The constant moving to different installations, multiple deployments, continuous training and time away from the family can take its toll.
“Even though our father had a busy career as a US Army Officer, he always made time for the family,” said younger daughter Kari Linke. “As a family we were also able to see the world as we were stationed in many different locations throughout the United States. as well as abroad. Our father made certain that each new place was a positive experience and encouraged us to learn about and know as much of the local culture that we could. Every Saturday my mother, father, sister and I would pile in the car for ‘Family Day’ which meant we would go visit a nearby historical or national landmark. Those family day adventures took us to places such as Harpers Ferry, a dormant volcano in Hawaii or the Korean Demilitarized Zone. I am very grateful that our father’s military career provided us the opportunity to see so many things around the world at such a young age.”
After a 30 year career, traveling around the world, witnessing military history first hand and reaching the rank of Colonel, Linke retired to rejoin the civilian ranks.
“When he finally retired, I was concerned that he would have some difficulty finding a position that he would care for as much as he did the Army,” said wife Carol.
“However, he was hired to work in the Los Angeles Red Cross chapter and now works with national headquarters, and I can see that same drive, 24/7 attention to detail, and his dedication to his job.”
“The best thing about the Army was the people, all of us soldiers, working together as a team with a single focus, defending the nation,” said H.T Linke, Chapter Communication Consultant. “That’s kind of the way it is with the Red Cross too, people working together with a single focus, serving people when they are in desperate times. It’s why I love the Red Cross; it’s not what drew me to the organization but it’s what has kept me here for fifteen years.”
“I am proud that he chose to work for the American Red Cross,” said daughter Kari. “I feel lucky to have a father, who is in my opinion a great American, but also a man who loves his wife, his family and continues to give back to his country.”
“My father’s taught me many of life’s lessons,” said daughter Chali. “His loving presence has guided me through heartache and disappointment where he encouraged me to be strong. Other times he has cheered me on and celebrated with me in my successes. Above all my father has a wonderful sense of humor that has made us all laugh and smile and at times it has carried us through difficult times with laughter. He made my mother, sister and me a priority, we never came second.”
“One constant through it all has been my family; they have been my support team, my prod when I needed it, and my inspiration always,” said Linke. “On Father’s Day, and every other day, I’m immensely proud of all of them.”
H.T. Linke continues to make a difference in people’s lives while giving back to his community