Konstantynow Lodzki honors WWII pilots

  • Published
  • By Capt. Amy Rittberger
  • 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Members of the South Dakota Air National Guard, 114th Fighter Wing, and the 52nd Operations Group, Detachment 1, deployed to Lask Air Base, Poland, participated in a memorial service here, Sept. 4, honoring a WWII U.S. bomber crew.

Mayor of Konstantynow Lozdki, Henryk Brzyszcz, invited the Airmen to hear the story of the B-24 Liberator bomber crew and lay flowers at the memorial, which was held in conjunction with a city festival celebrating the town's 186th anniversary.

The mayor explained that the U.S. bomber was shot down March 15, 1945. Two of the seven men on board were killed in the crash and buried with the help of the townspeople in the city center. Later, the bodies were excavated and brought to the U.S. The town built the memorial to honor the crew, and every year the mayor holds a ceremony to remember their sacrifice.

Following the ceremony, Brzyszcz invited the Airmen on stage at the city festival and spoke to residents, introducing Lt. Col. Kristofer Padilla, 52nd OG, Det. 1, commander.

"I want to thank the citizens of Konstantynow for this invitation today," said Padilla. "It's events like these that are allowing all of us to feel very much at home in Poland even though we are far away from the United States."