Opinion: East Brunswick Army vet is ‘greatest unsung hero of World War II’

I am a former director of Public Safety in East Brunswick, and I’m also a military veteran of the U.S. Navy, which I served in from 1975 through 1980. I served as director in East Brunswick from 1998 until 2005, and served the East Brunswick Police Department from 1980 through 2005. I am now a retired 32-year law enforcement veteran and a resident of San Antonio, Texas.

I just finished reading a fascinating historical book about the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach by the First Infantry Division, also known as “The Big Red One.” The book is called “The Dead and Those About to Die,” and one of the heroic soldiers during the invasion (there were hundreds) was Technical Sergeant Philip Streczyk of East Brunswick. Born in 1918, he was a 25-year-old Army sergeant on D-Day, and his incredibly heroic actions that day and during subsequent battles across Europe earned him an unbelievable four Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars. His company commander called him “the greatest unsung hero of World War II.”

Sadly, his battle fatigue (now accurately called PTSD), and his constant pain from physical wounds led to his suicide at the age of 39 on June 25, 1958. He is buried at The Church of Our Savior Cemetery in East Brunswick. I researched the cemetery and it’s actually the Polish National Catholic Church Cemetery which is located in Hamilton

At a time when our country is at the height of respect for the selfless service of our military heroes, men like Philip Streczyk deserve the full recognition of all Americans. I would like to lend my full support to TSgt Streczyk’s long overdue recognition for his incredible contributions to the safety and security we enjoy as a free democratic society.

Thomas W. Finn
San Antonio, Texas

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