Ted Zulkowski grew up in a diverse community in Newark, New Jersey, living with immigrant families from Italy, Germany, England, and Poland. His mother did housework for a wealthy family and his father made roller bearings. He was 20 when World War II started in 1939, and remembers a Polish officer visiting the armory in Newark raise awareness about the German invasion in a predominately Polish community. Poor vision prevented him from being drafted until late in the war, and he trained as a surgical technician. His first daughter was born right before he deployed, and he did not meet her until he returned from the war. Arriving in France, he was assigned to the 280th Station Hospital in Cherbourg, France, preparing seriously wounded servicemen for their return to the United States on hospital ships. After the war in Europe ended, his unit moved into occupied Germany to replace hospital staff in the 100th General Hospital, who were being transferred to the Pacific. When he finally returned to the United States, he was so happy that he kissed the ground. He recalls reuniting with his wife and meeting his year-and-a-half old daughter. He eventually got a job working for IBM, making molds and tools. In June 2019, he will celebrate his 100th birthday.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his service in the Army, and his hobby as a HAM radio operator. He recalls some of the wounded Soldiers he treated, and taking trade school classes in England after the war ended. As a Polish-American, he describes his disdain for the Germans after their 1939 invasion of Poland. He discusses operating a phone patch through amateur radio, connecting him to people around the world. Finally, he reflects on taking an Honor Flight to Washington D.C., the appreciation he felt from those he met, and his love for his country.