Jim Sursely wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s been mentoring and helping wounded veterans, such as himself, for the past 50 years. He still helps veterans although now he’s semi-retired in the Orlando, FL area.

He grew up in Rochester, MN and graduated from high school in May of 1966. By his own admission, he had no intention of joining the military at the time. He planned on going to college and “maybe playing a little bit of junior college football.” But things changed. 

Vietnam was really heating up at that time, so he joined the Army in December of 1966 and went to Ft. Polk, Louisiana for basic training and AIT. He was then sent to Ft. Sill, OK for a second AIT. Growing up he was car enthusiast, “I was a guy who had a ‘57 Chevy and could take it apart and put it back together on the weekend and thought I’d be mechanic in the Army.”

He was trained as a wheeled vehicle mechanic at Ft. Polk and then transitioned to tracked vehicle mechanic at Ft. Sill where the artillerymen were trained. Many of the bigger guns such as the self-propelled 175mm and 8-inch guns were mounted on tracks, and so were tanks and armored personnel carriers.