Fred Stuenkel graduated from Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda in 1965. He continued his education at what was then Manatee Junior College in Bradenton until his funds ran out. It was 1969, the year he received notice from the draft board he had been selected to join the Army.
After basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., he continued his military career at Fort Eustis, Va., headquarters for Army transportation, where he was trained as a Chinook CH-47 helicopter mechanic. The Chinooks are big, twin-rotor choppers that look kind of like a flying hot dog. They are capable of transporting a couple of dozen fully-equipped soldiers into battle, flying a 105 mm or 155 mm Howitzer to the front, or simply carrying all the ammo and food a company of soldiers would need to continue their fight for quite some time.
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