HUDSON — The Columbia County Veterans committee, chaired by Joe Dybas, will be honoring SGT Helmuth H. Renken of Greenport at 9 a.m. June 25 in the Supervisors Chambers at 401 State St., Hudson. Sgt. Renken served in the United States Army Air Force. The public is invited.
Helmuth H. Renken was horn on Sept. 12, 1921 in Wulstoff, Germany to Heinrich and Ella (Rother) Renken. Raised in the Bronx, he attended PS 46 elementary school and graduated Haarem High School.
Renken enlisted in the United States Army on Sept 17, 1942 in New York City. After basic training he received additional training at Weatherford, OK as an airplane maintenance Technician for the Army Air Force and qualified for the AAF Air Crew Member Badge and the AAF Tech Badge.
On June 10, 1943 Sgt. Helmuth H. Renken was assigned to duty in China-Burma-India Theater with the Tenth Air Force. He was a flight engineer on C-46’s that flew from India to China over the Himalayan Mountains (AKA “The Hump”), transporting supplies to allied troops. He was in charge of a crew of mechanics who performed line maintenance on airplanes, supervised their work accordance with Technical Orders and inspected planes to see that all repairs are properly made for flight. The Tenth Air Force transported over 500,000 tons of cargo with the loss of 594 aircraft and over 1,300 personnel killed and 345 missing. Their efforts were instrumental in the capitulation of the Japanese during WWII.
Sgt. Helmuth H. Renken was honorably discharged on Oct. 29, 1945 at Mitchel Field and for his service was awarded the following awards: American Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Renken returned home and met and married Mary Mariak on Oct. 17, 1953. Together they raised two daughters. He worked as a mechanical engineer for the V&O Press in Hudson for more than 30 years. He also worked for Comair Rotron in Saugerties and Servotec in Hudson.
He remained active in his community as a founding member of the Greenport Pumper 3 Volunteer Fire Co and served as an officer for the American Legion.
Renken died on Jan. 31, 2016 and is buried in Cedar Park Cemetery, Hudson. He left behind two daughters Linda and Susan and two grandchildren. He was 94.