Papers (1908-1967, undated) pertaining to the military career and personal life of Lieutenant General Robert Frederick Sink (1905-1965), a graduate of West Point, a pioneer in the use of airborne warfare, who commanded the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army Airborne Corps, during World War II, 1942-1945, participating in the Allied Invasion of Normandy (1944) and the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne, Belgium (1944-1945); and served as Chief of Staff of the RYUKUS command based on Okinawa, Japan (1949); as Assistant Commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Korea (1951); as a member of the Joint Airborne Troop Board at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (1954); and as commander of the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) and the 18th Airborne (1958); he was promoted to lieutenant general, in 1959, and took command of the U.S. Army in the Caribbean, a post he held until he retired in 1961 due to poor health; he died in 1965; the collection consists of correspondence, clippings, manuscripts, photographs & printed materials.
Lieutenant General Robert Frederick Sink was born in Lexington, North Carolina on April 3, 1905. A 1927 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Sink had a distinguished career as a pioneer in the use of airborne warfare. As commander of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the Army Airborne Corps, he was sent to Europe in 1942. He subsequently participated in the Allied Invasion of Normandy (1944), parachuting under cover of dark before seaborne troops landed. His troops saw action at the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne (1944-1945). After World War II, Sink served as Chief of Staff of the RYUKUS command, based in Okinawa, Japan (1949), as assistant commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Korea (1951), and as a member of the Joint Airborne Troops Board at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (1954). In 1958, Sink was given command of the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) and the 18th Airborne. In 1960, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and took command of the U.S. Army in the Caribbean, a post he held until his retirement in 1961 due to poor health. General Sink was married to Mary Cecil Sink and had three children and two adopted children. He died at Fort Bragg in 1965 of pulmonary emphysema.
The Robert Frederick Sink Papers are arranged in original order in 5 series. Curators have transferred oversized materials to separate folders (Series 5)
Series 1: Correspondence (1946-1966) is limited primarily to incidental material pertaining to personal and military matters held in one folder (#255.1.a). Several letters written by Sink to his mother, Marcy Cecil (Mrs. Frederick O., Sr.) Sink, reflect his close attachment to his family to the extent that he even apologized for drinking of alcohol by military personnel. Of particular significance is a letter describing the experiences of one of his men who was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, at Bastogne, Belgium. This letter describes battlefield medical treatment during World War II and shows how Sink's troops felt about him. It also includes a letter Sink wrote, in December of 1955, from Brazil where he was stationed. He commented on travel difficulties, the water problem, a visit by Congressman Dewey Short of Missouri, the frequency of Brazilian holidays, and the use of temporary grade ranks. Included with this letter is a note from General Maxwell D. Taylor informing Sink of his promotion to Brigadier General. Also included are letters from Generals Edward M. Almond, H. J. Jablonsky, Maxwell D. Taylor and Governor Terry Sanford expressing sympathy to Sink's mother upon his death in 1965.
Series 2: Clippings (1927 – 1965) consist of one folder (#255.1.b) which documents Sink's military training and promotions primarily as reflected in North Carolina newspapers probably compiled by Sink's mother.
Series 3: Photographs (1927 – 1960) including two folders (#255.1.c - #255.1.d). The photographs documents family events, Sink's student days at West Point, Army banquets that Sink attended, military planning and drills, and meetings with various army personnel, including Gen. MacArthur (P-16; Folder #255.1.c), and a photo showing Sink in full military garb that is worthy of digitization (P-48; Folder #255.1.d).
Series 4: Printed Materials (1914 – 1967) consists of three folder (#255.1.e - #255.1.g) including brochures, newsletters, and pamphlets documenting the 6th Army Basketball Tournament (1953), the dedication of the Robert F. Sink Memorial Library (1967) and the Post Library at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (undated); also a Safe Conduct Pass issued by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in English & Japanese when Sink was on Okinawa; also a memorandum notebook diary probably written by Sink's mother describing an automobile trip she took with Sink's father and several others to attend the Patriotic Sons of America (PSOA) convention in Jacksonville, FL (1919).
Series 5: Oversized Materials (1908 – 1967) consists of three folders (#255.os1 - #255.os3) primarily including oversized clippings transferred from folder (#255.1.b); also includes a United Press War Map [ca. 1941] documenting World War II in Asia and the Pacific Theater.
Gift of Mrs. Fred O. Sink, Sr., March 15, 1974
Gift of Mrs. Robin Sink Reavis, February 18, 1977, October 20, 2003
Processing, container list, finding aid by HIST 5910 student Jacob Parks, April 20, 2016; revised by Jonathan Dembo, May 3, 2016
Processed by M. Elmore, January 1977
Encoded by Apex Data Services, May 2002
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.