For Your Freedom and Ours
by Arthur Chrenkoff

There is an old Polish motto that says �For your freedom and ours.� Many who live in advanced Western societies take their security and prosperity for granted. Poles, who�ve experienced so little of either over the past two centuries, are much more aware of how precious and precarious freedom is.

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On V-E Day say 'dziekuje' to the Poles
by Gilbert J. Mros

Sixty years ago, the world celebrated Victory in Europe, and on May 8 (V-E Day) we remember those who fought to preserve the freedom that we now enjoy.

The United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union provided most of the Allied forces during World War II, but few people realize that the fourth-largest contributor was Poland.

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 Polish & Polish-American

Contributions to US Military History


 

(click name to read bio.)

(click [MOH] to read citation

[MOH] = Medal of Honor

[VC] = Victoria Cross


Revolutionary War: 

 

Casimir Pulaski (1747-1779)

Father of the American Cavalry

Hero of Two Continents

 

Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1756-1817)

Proposed USMA at West Point


Civil War:

 

Capt. Alexander Bielawski

 

Gen. Joseph Karge

 

Gen. Wladimir Krzyzanowski (1824-1887)


World War I:

 

Sgt. John J. Czajka

First American to give his life in WWI

 

Col. Cedric E. Fauntleroy

[MOH]

Sgt. Michael B. (Eliasz) Ellis

[VC]

First Lt. Michael Komorowski


World War II:

[MOH]

Sgt. Sylvester Antolak

[MOH]

Pfc. John Dutko

[MOH]

Pfc. William J. Grabiarz

[MOH]

Pfc. Stephen R. (Grziegorzewski) Gregg

 

Col. Frank S. "Gabby" Gabreski

Third-ranked all-time fighter ace

Air Ace in WWII & Korea

[MOH]

Pfc. Anthony L. Krotiak

 
 

Rev. Monsignor Thaddeus F. Malamowski

First Roman Catholic priest and first Polish-American to Head the Armed forces Chaplaincy Services

[MOH]

Pfc. Edward J. Moskala

 
 

Ripkowski Brothers

Nine brothers in WWII

Total of 12 through Korean War

 

Capt.Jeanne Grushinski Rubin

Inducted into Florida

Veterans' Hall of Fame

[MOH]

Sgt. Joseph J. Sadowski

 
[MOH]

Second Lt. Joseph R. Sarnoski

 
[MOH]

Lt. Col. Matt Urban

The most decorated soldier in U. S. history

[MOH]

Pfc Frank P. Witek

     

Korean War:
 

Col. Frank S. "Gabby" Gabreski

Third-ranked all-time fighter ace

Air Ace in WWII & Korea

[MOH]

Capt. Edward C. Krzyzowski

 

Ripkowski Brothers

Nine brothers in WWII

Total of 12 through Korean War


 

Gen. Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1756-1817).  Commissioned by the Continental Congress in the Continental Corps of Engineers, Kosciuszko designed and built fortifications along the Delaware and Hudson Rivers.  He designed and built the first fortifications at West Point on the Hudson River.  Today that is the site of the US Army Military Academy.  In his "Last Will and Testament", penned on his departure from the United States, Gen. Kosciusko appointed Thomas Jefferson as its executor and authorized him to use any monies derived from the sale of his properties to be used "in purchasing Negroes from among his own or any other and giving them liberty in my name."  Thus, Koscuiszko, a Pole, struck the first blow against slavery in the United States.

 

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Capt. Alexander Bielawski.  A Polish �migr� and seasoned soldier, deported from his native land by its Russian occupiers, joined the Union Army at Washington, DC.  He rose swiftly to the rank of Captain and died in battle in the State of Missouri in 1861.

 

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Gen. Joseph Karge.  While a Lt. Col. in the First Cavalry of New Jersey he was wounded at the Battle of Brandy Station.  Promoted to Col, he was placed in command of New Jersey's Second Cavalry.  By the end of the Civil War he was promoted to General and made the Supreme Commander of the entire New Jersey Cavalry.  At the end of the war Gen. Karge, a linguistic expert, went on to head the Foreign Languages School at Princeton NJ.  He died in 1892 and was laid to rest at Princeton NJ.  The Dept of NJ PLAV USA holds an annual memorial service at his gravesite.

 

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Sgt. John J. Czajka, of Milwaukee WI.  The first American to give his life in battle in France in World War I.  He was a member of Company A of the Us Army's 26th Infantry.  He was killed while leading a patrol into enemy territory on November 13, 1917.  Originally buried in France, his remains were returned to the United States and reinterred in the St. Albert Cemetery, at Milwaukee WI.

 

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Col. Cedric E. Fauntleroy.  While not a Polish-American but fluent in the Polish language, Col Fauntleroy was placed in command of the "Polish Escadrille", a US Army unit comprised solely of Polish and Polish-American volunteers.  This unit was cited for "admirable discipline, obedience to its officers, loyalty, valor and courage".  Many of its members were an integral part of the original three organizations that evolved into the Polish Legion of American Veterans, USA.   Col. Fauntleroy was among the first Honorary Members of our organization and did attend and participate in its early National Conventions.

 

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Sgt. Michael B. (Eliasz) Ellis. Born at St. Louis, MO, in 1892, Sgt. Ellis was a member of the Us Army First Division's 28th Infantry.  During the fighting in World War I the stocky 5' 5" twenty year old Sgt. Ellis became the Polish-American version of the famed Tennessee Sgt. Alvin C. York.  He and his war exploits were immortalized in a series of articles entitled "America's Heroes of the Great War" penned by the 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt for the "Chicago Herald-Examiner".  He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor "for his leadership and spirit in battle (which at time included hand to hand combat), his fearless attacks on machine gun nests and his single handed capture of over 60 German prisoners."

 

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First Lt. Michael Komorowski.  One of the two 1st Lts. that in a humble cottage in the Village of Hawthorne IL set forth the plans to organize the "Alliance of Polish-American Veterans of World War I" in the late summer of 1920.  First Lt. Komorowski was a hero of the "Battle of Hemel Woods" in France.  For his actions there he was awarded Great Britain's highest military award  "the Victoria Cross" conferred upon him personally by Great Britain's King George V in 1918.

 

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Pfc Frank P. Witek, USMC, of Chicago, IL.  Posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during the battle for the Island of Guam "for conspicuous gallantry far and above the call of duty."

 

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Pfc. Stephen R. (Grziegorzewski) Gregg, US Army, 36th Division, of Bayonne NJ.  Gregg, earned a battlefield promotion to 2nd LT and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidly at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty".  He is a PLAV USA member and still resides in his native Bayonne NJ.

 

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Col. Frank S. "Gabby" Gabreski, USAF, Oil City, PA.  Served in both WWII and in Korea.  Col Gabreski, a highly decorated Veteran, was America's top fighter pilot in Europe, shooting down 30 plus enemy planes.  He re-achieved "ace status" in Korea by downing six Russian MIG fighters. (.....  more  ...)

PLAV USA Post #158 at Davie, FL is named in his honor.

 

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Ripkowski Brothers, In November 2007 the United States Congress recognized a family in the Second Congressional District in Texas where Veterans Day is daily family event. If you looked up the word �patriot� in the dictionary, you would most likely find a photograph of 12 Ripkowski brothers in Dayton, Texas. The lives of all 12 brothers form a company of heroes that served in our military in various branches spanning from World War II to the Korean War. (.....  more  ...)

 

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Captain Jeanne Grushinski-Rubin, On November 12, 2013 Captain Jeanne Grushinski-Rubin USN Retired, was inducted into the Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame

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Capt. Edward C. Krzyzowski of the Us Army's 2nd Infantry Regiment,  an Illinoisan, was killed in action on September 3, 1951. Capt. Krzyzowski was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for providing cover that allowed his unit to escape communist encirclement.

 

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Rev. Monsignor Thaddeus F. Malamowski rose to the rank of General when appointed to head the Armed forces Chaplaincy Services by President Richard M. Nixon.  He was the first Roman Catholic priest and first Polish-American to be awarded this position.
Father Malanowski served as the National Chaplain of the PLAV USA from November 1987 to November 1993.

 

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Lieutenant Colonel Matt Urban was awarded 29 medals for valor in World War II. Three more than war hero Audie Murphy. The 1989 Guinness Book of World Records documents Colonel Urban as the most decorated soldier in US history.

He waited a long time to get the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. "When I came home I never thought about war," he said in 1988. "That's why the medal was 35 years late. . . . I just never pursued it." But a friend did, and in 1980 Col Urban got the medal. Perhaps more amazing than the Medal of Honor were the seven Purple Hearts -- one for each wound -- Colonel Urban earned in the war. By the time he hit the beach at Normandy, France, he'd been wounded three times in North Africa. The Germans nicknamed him the Ghost. "I guess it was because I kept coming back," he said. While still recovering from a leg wound he performed the act that earned the Medal of Honor. (.....  more  ...)

 

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Last modified: December 26, 2013

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