A highly decorated war veteran from North Carolina soon will be recognized with a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker.
Lt. Gen. Robert Sink, a career U.S. Army officer who served in both World War II and the Korean War, was born in 1905 in Lexington, N.C. He attended Trinity College (now Duke University) for a year before transferring to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he graduated in 1927 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
The marker commemorating Sink will be unveiled in his hometown Saturday, Nov. 11. on the square at 3 N. Main St at 2:00 pm.
Prior to World War II, Sink served numerous assignments before becoming an airborne-qualified soldier in 1940. He caught the eye of Lt. Col. William C. Lee, commander of the U.S. Provisional Parachute Group and considered to be the father of the American airborne. Sink excelled under Lee's tutelage and was promoted several times, including to command positions.
As commander of the 506th Regiment, Sink participated in some of the most significant operations in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, including D-Day, the Arnhem Campaign (Operation Market Garden), the defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and the advance into Germany. He was popular with his men, who nicknamed the regiment “the Five-Oh-Sink.” Sink was portrayed by actor Dale Dye in the television mini-series "Band of Brothers."
After World War II, Col. Sink served as assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division, after which he was assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point to command the post garrison. Other important postwar postings included chief of staff to the U.S. Military Government of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands, headquartered at Okinawa, followed by promotion to brigadier general and assignment as assistant commander of the 7th Infantry Division during the Korean War in 1951.
In the following year he was assigned to the post of assistant commander of the 11th Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, and in 1953 became the commanding general of the 7th Armored Division, stationed at Camp Roberts in California. Towards the end of 1953, he became the commanding general of the 44th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis near Tacoma, Washington.
From October 1954 to January 1955, he was director of the Joint Airborne Troop Board, based at Fort Bragg (now Fort Liberty), which was assigned to develop tactics and doctrine for airborne operations in conjunction with other branches of military service. From 1955 to early 1957 he was stationed in Brazil, where he was chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the Joint Brazil-United States Military Commission. He next commanded the XVIII Air Corps and Fort Bragg from May 1957 to July 1960. In May 1958, the XVIII Air Corps became the nucleus of the Strategic Army Corps, a pioneering rapid deployment force.
In September 1959 he was promoted to lieutenant general. In addition to his responsibilities commanding the XVIII Air Corps, the Strategic Army Corps, and Fort Bragg, Sink briefly commanded the Third Army, stationed at Fort McPherson in Georgia. In July 1960 he was appointed commander of the United States Caribbean Command, based in the Panama Canal Zone.
Sink retired from the service in February 1961 with declining health. He died of pulmonary emphysema at Fort Bragg in December 1965 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
For additional information about the historical marker please visit https://ncmarkers.com/Markers.aspx?MarkerId=K-68.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the North Carolina Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.