March 28, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 54 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
TRIBUTE TO ZYGMUND KOWALESKI; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 54
(Extensions of Remarks - March 28, 2019)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E365] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] TRIBUTE TO ZYGMUND KOWALESKI ______ HON. DON YOUNG of alaska in the house of representatives Thursday, March 28, 2019 Mr. YOUNG. Madam Speaker, today I'd like to congratulate Zygmund Kowaleski on the occasion of his 99th birthday on April 7th, and thank him for his service to the United States Navy and to the United States of America. Mr. Kowaleski enlisted as a gunner on a twin-engine PBM flying boat in October of 1941, just two months before the ambush at Pearl Harbor would launch the U.S. into World War II. As a part of Torpedo Squadron Eight present at the Battle of Midway, he and his fellow crew members earned commendations for bravery in engagements at Guadalcanal, Midway, and the British Solomon Islands. Attempting to fly a mail route off the coast of the Fiji Islands, Mr. Kowaleski's plane stalled on takeoff and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. He was forced to free himself from the downed plane and paddle from the wreckage, fearful the ship's 500-pound depth charges would detonate. Madam Speaker, even after receiving combat honors twice for his heroics, Mr. Kowaleski once again piloted a U.S. Navy plane, instead hunting German submarines in the North Atlantic Ocean. Mr. Kowaleski moved out to Alaska in 1967 after fulfilling his Naval service, continuing to fly as an FAA Airway Systems Inspection Pilot. But whether he was piloting a torpedo bomber or a twin-engine Cessna, he always conducted himself with valor and should be considered among Alaska's finest Naval Aviators for his service. An aviator needs quick decision-making and a cool head to fly a plane in combat. Many of us will not know the kind of mental toughness required to see a mission to its conclusion, even under the most dire flight conditions. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Zygmund Kowaleski, who now at the age of 99, will have spent nearly one quarter of his life's work in service to his country having flown missions from Dutch Harbor to the Panama Canal. There are few people that can claim to have sacrificed as much under our flag, and he is owed the thanks and gratitude of all of us here in Washington and in Alaska. ____________________