"The real rewards of military service are not the medals you wear on your chest. The real rewards are the looks in the eyes of men who have served with you, men who understand the nature of your service, men who have observed your actions in the most stressful of conditions and have seen the depth of your character. Chesty Puller"
Tribute to Stanley Wawrzyniak from the Congressional Record
June 29, 1999 House of Representatives, Washington, DC
TRIBUTE TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL STANLEY WAWRZYNIAK
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker’s announced policy of January 19, 1999, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. JONES) is recognized during morning hour debates for 5 minutes.
Mr. JONES of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a truly outstanding Marine, Lieutenant Colonel Stanley ‘‘Ski’’ Wawrzyniak, a native of Gary, West Virginia.
Although Lieutenant Colonel Wawrzyniak passed away in 1995, his legacy is still felt in the ranks of the Marine Corps, particularly in the Marine community of eastern North Carolina, where he made his home. His courage and discipline as a dutiful Marine served as an inspiration to all that knew him. Even now, his courage under fire, fighting expertise, and leadership skills are widely remembered and respected.
Stanley’s 35 years in the Corps and his record of valor distinguish him as a Marine Corps hero. He was awarded two Navy Crosses, one Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and four Purple Hearts. Although highly decorated, Stanley loved the Marines he served with and
always gave 110 percent in every situation. Mr. Speaker, after dropping out of high school, Stanley enlisted in the United States Navy. After serving 23 months, he was released from active duty in September of 1946. Three days later, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
He went to China in the late 1940s and entered the Korean War. In two tours with the 5th Marines in Korea, he was awarded two Navy Crosses, a Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts. In 1953, as a Master Sergeant, Stanley was commissioned a Marine Second Lieutenant while serving at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
In the years between his commissioning and his time in Vietnam, Stanley went through the Basic Officers School, Underwater Demolition and Mountain Leadership Training Course, where he broke his spine on a mountain drop, yet hiked out unassisted. He also went through Evasion, Escape and Survival school, where he led his team in avoiding capture and finished first in his class. As a matter of fact, he finished first in a lot of things, such as Army Airborne School and Army Ranger School.
Mr. Speaker, in July of 1965 then Major Wawrzyniak embarked for Vietnam. He served in the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment and was awarded two Bronze Stars and his fourth Purple Heart. During his time in the Marine Corps, Stanley demonstrated his great love for his country and his fellow Marines. However, his accomplishments did not end with his military career. Perhaps his proudest legacy remains with the strong relationship he held with his wife Adaline, his two daughters, Bernadette and Paula, and his sons Michael, Andrew and Stanley.
With a career that, although distinguished, would have strained even the strongest of family ties, Stanley took the time to mend the relationships that were most important to him. Mr. Speaker, shortly after his retirement and until the time of his death, Stanley’s two youngest sons were living in the Swansboro, North Carolina, area and working in the building trades. He went to work as a foreman with the same contractor who employed
his sons. This gave him the opportunity to accomplish two things that were very important to him.
First, he was able to work side by side with his sons and rebuild relationships with them that had suffered during his long service-related separations.
Second, he was able to build homes. For a man whose entire life had been spent at war in foreign countries, he felt a great sense of accomplishment from building homes. The fact that he did it side by side with his sons made it that much more important to him.
Lieutenant Colonel Stanley Wawrzyniak’s life can best be described by the quote from General Chesty Puller, perhaps the most famous of all Marines. He said, and I quote, the real rewards of military service are not the medals you wear on your chest. The real rewards are the looks in the eyes of men who have served with you, men who understand the nature of your service, men who have observed your actions in the most stressful of conditions and have seen the depth of your character.
Mr. Speaker, Stanley Wawrzyniak is a man who served as an example to all of us. He is sorely missed, but his remarkable service to this country is something that will ensure his memory will live on.
It is my honor to have such men and women serving in the United States Marine Corps, and residing in my district. Stanley Wawrzyniak is a man who is sorely missed, and greatly appreciated.
Doc Rod Hardin:
Yes, this is the same Major Ski who was our Bn X-O in 1966-67. Carried a shotgun and chewed the butt-end of an unlit cigar. Not exactly regulation, doncha know?
In Korea, he received 2 Navy Crosses, 1 Silver Star and 3 Purple Hearts. In Vietnam he received 2 Bronze Stars w/V.
Maj Ski got his fourth PH on March 25, 1967 while on a sweep with Kilo 3/3. Took incoming mortar schrapnel. I remember seeing "Ski" walking about in his non-issue skivvies during a mortar barrage telling everyone else to get their butts down. It was like he was immune to the wall of s**t. One hell of a Marine! OOH-RAH!
LT COL US MARINE CORPS
WORLD WAR II, KOREA, VIETNAM
DATE OF BIRTH: 10/07/1927
DATE OF DEATH: 10/26/1995
BURIED AT: SECTION A2 SITE 52
COASTAL CAROLINA STATE VET CEM
110 MONTFORD POINT RD
JACKSONVILLE, NC 28540