Louis Arthur Reinken, Jr. – Colonel, United States Army

Courtesy of the United States Military Academy:

Louis Arthur Reinken, Jr., NO. 17912
Died 14 January 1993 in Little Silver, New Jersey, aged 65 years
Interment: Arlington National Cemeterylareinken-usma01

Mere words cannot describe or explain the deep loss felt by the family and friends of Colonel Louis A. Reinken, Jr.  As Major General J. K. Stoner, who eulogized Lou stated:

“Lou is remembered as a man whose gift to life was a combination of caring, concern, happiness, and enjoyment along with an ever-present smile. He was a dedicated soldier, friend, loving father and husband, respected community leader and successful businessman.”

Lou participated in the landing at Inchon, Korea in September 1950 and was awarded the Silver Star for bravery in action in Hung Nam, Korea. Following an assignment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he was then posted to Stuttgart, Germany, where he served as aide-de-camp to the Chief of Staff, VII Corps Artillery. He later commanded a 280mm battery of the 868th Field Artillery Battalion in Baumholder, Germany.

Lou also served with the 3d AAA Group of Norfolk Air Defense followed by the Advanced Course at Fort Sill in 1956. He remained there as an instructor in the Gunnery Department until 1959. His next assignment was advisor to the Commandant of Cadets at the Vietnamese Military Academy in Dalat, Vietnam.

Nineteen hundred and sixty-one brought him to Clemson University as Assistant Professor, Military Science (ROTC). Returning to Korea in 1965, he commanded the 6th Battalion, 37th Artillery. Upon his graduation from the Command and General Staff College in 1967, he served as Chief, Unit Training Branch, DCS, OPNS, Third Army, Fort McPherson, Georgia.

Lou loved Europe, and in 1969 he returned as Chief, Special Weapons Branch, in the Land Operations Division of Allied Forces, Central Europe in Brunsom,  Netherlands. Upon his promotion to Colonel in 1970, he was stationed in Stuttgart again as Depuly G3, VII Corps, and then as executive officer, Vll Corps Artillery.

While stationed in Germany at Kelly Barracks, Lou met and fell in love with Renate Haas, a fashion designer. Lou and Renate were married on 28 October 1972.

Notwithstanding these wonderful career and personal accomplishments, Lou was a private and behind-the-scenes person. He rarely ever appeared in the front row. That just was not the central focus of his life. This was reserved for Renate and his two sons of a previous marriage, Louis Ill and Dirk Christian. In conversations with Lou's many friends, it was agreed that the love and devotion that passed between Lou and Renate was as no other. This is the inner Lou we all will remember. He was a man whose greatest goals seemed riveted to the standard of service to his family, his friends, his community, his Army and his Country. His motivation always related to making somebody else happy or at ease in their life.

In July 1974, the Reinkens returned to the U.S. and Lou became Director of Plans and Analysis in the US Army Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. They made their new home in Little Silver, New Jersey. In January 1979, Lou was assigned as Chief of Staff of the US Army Communications and Electronics Material Readiness Command and retired on 31 July 1980 from active duty with great honors after 30 years of dedicated service.

After retirement, Lou became more involved in community affairs, real estate, traveling and remodelling their home in Little Silver. Fort Monmouth stayed close and to quote General Stoner again: “Louis' influence on the human side of the Fort Monmouth Community expanded beyond the limits of his assigned tasks into areas like the interaction of Fort Monmouth and the governances of the surrounding communities, and ultimately into every niche in which people interaction was key.”

The feeling of warmth and friendship always surrounded Lou and Renate through the years. They were content, happy and fulfilled with their lives and love for each other. Lou's 65th birthday was celebrated on 28 August 1992. Louis III of San Francisco and Dirk Christian of Rhode Island were surprise arrivals.

The celebration continued, and, on 28 October, the Reinken's celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. Lou's words to friends were always, “Well, we like the first 20 years, so let’s renew the contact for the next 20.”

On 4 November, Lou was hospitalized with phlebitis and diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He was given less than two months to live. Lou came home from the hospital and spent his remaining time with his family and friends without a single word of complaint despite tremendous pain. Lou passed away quietly at home on 14 January 1993, demonstrating his strength, dignity, love and faith. His last words to Renate were, “I love you, sweetheart.”

No words can describe the void, pain and loss to family and friends. The gift of his life, love and memory is eternal and  will serve as a bridge to the future for all who knew Lou and miss him so much.

Lou typified the true spirit of a caring and loving father and husband; an outstanding officer and gentleman; and a true son of this country and a man of West Point.

Colonel Louis Arthur Reinken, Jr.'s decorations include the Silver Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Legion of Merit.

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