Army PFC Derek Wilke of Palm Bay Surprised With Cake for His 21st Birthday While On Duty in South Korea
By Space Coast Daily // December 5, 2019
2017 graduate of Bayside High is a member of the 3-2 General Support Aviation Battalion
WATCH: U.S. Army Private First Class Derek Wilke of Palm Bay, Florida, who is currently stationed in South Korea, was surprised with a cake for his 21st birthday – via the USO – from his family in Brevard County.
SOMEWHERE IN SOUTH KOREA – U.S. Army Private First Class Derek Wilke of Palm Bay, Florida, who is currently stationed in South Korea, was surprised with a birthday cake – via the USO – from his family in Brevard County.
His mom, Brevard County Commissioner Kristine Isnardi, said he was thrilled and surprised when USO “Operation Birthday Cake” surprised him on the flight line on his 21st birthday.
Along with the cake, Wilke’s mother sent a warm birthday greeting note saying, “We wish we could be with you to celebrate your birthday, but since we can’t, just know that we love you and are so very proud of you in this journey God has placed you on – stay alert, stay alive – your mom.”
Wilke, a 2017 graduate of Bayside High School, is a member of the 3-2 General Support Aviation Battalion that maintains the legendary CH-47 “Chinook” heavy-lift helicopter that first distinguished itself during the Vietnam War and is now a mainstay in all areas of the world.
In addition to military missions, it also performs medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery and fire fighting.
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He enlisted in the Army in October 2018 as an E3 because he had his associate’s degree from Eastern Florida State College
After basic training, Wilke received Advanced Individual Training at Fort Eustis, Virginia.
Wilke was born in Michigan and moved to Florida when he was just three months old. At Bayside High he was an outstanding three-sport athlete, including leading the soccer team as captain and competing on the track and cross country teams.
During his senior year, he received the prestigious U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar/Athlete award.
Wilke is following in his stepbrother Angelo’s footsteps, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army and is a three-time Purple Heart recipient and combat-wounded veteran.
Derek said he misses his family, Florida weather and beaches, and fishing in the Sebastian inlet. Although he is currently stationed in South Korea, he hopes to be stateside sometime next spring.
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