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 []

                      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 
  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.