Richard E. Zook was born May 1, 1921 to Aaron and Norma Zook, who lived in Wallace Township, Pennsylvania. Richard was the oldest of two children.
Richard entered the Army on October 8, 1941 and after basic training was assigned to the 135th Infantry Regiment, of the 34th Infantry Division. This is the same regiment that heroes Norman Becker and Arthur Pickell would serve.
The 135th Regiment participated in the landings in German occupied North Africa in December, 1942, in support of the Allied forces which landed in November. The entire division landed at Oran, a city and inlet in the Mediterranean Sea west-southwest of Algiers.
After additional training, the 135th Regiment moved east towards Tunisia on November 2nd, relieving elements of the Free French Army. They engaged the famed Rommel’s Afrika Korps in combat a few days later.
Richard’s Regiment fought two very intense battles to secure the Fondouk Pass, a pass through low lying mountains blocking eastward movement. They were unsuccessful in their first battle March. After regrouping, they again fought the Afrika Korps to take the pass and surrounding heights. This was very intense battle, with the support of the British 6th armored division, was ultimately successful.
His parents received Richards’s last letter dated April 7th, in which he assured them he was all right. Two days later, on April 9,1942, Private First Class Richard E. Zook was Killed In Action in Tunisia. His parents received the Government telegram on May 2nd.
Richard is buried at the North African American Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia.