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Lt. John Martyniak 8th AAF B17 pilot


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Recently I picked up an officer's uniform named to John Martyniak who was part of the goldfish club  He was a B17 pilot in the 534BS, 381BG, 8AF.  His plane received flak damage during a bombing raid over France and he needed to crash land in the English Channel.  I posted about Lt. Martyniak on the Lastest Finds a few days ago.


While researching I was able to find Lt. Martyniak's son. I called him and spoke to his wife. The family had been looking for this uniform over the past few months since Lt. Martyniak's daughter passed away. Lt. Martyniak never spoke much about his service but I was able to fill his son and daughter-in-law regarding his military service. I emailed them photos I found, after action reports and even a two page document describing the crash. We talked for over an hour. I sent her photos of my military presentations and information about myself.  I also offered to give back the uniform.  


I was brought to tears when they told me that they want me to keep the uniform, ribbons and wings. 


Then this morning I opened my inbox and found an email from the daughter-in-law. She said the she and her husband are so incredibly happy with everything I am doing, and that they are proud of all the time and effort I put into researching Mr. Martyniak. As a matter of fact they were so happy and proud that I'm taking care of his uniform that they decided to give me all his medals and any other items they have from his service. This includes his purple heart and DFC.  I was completely taken back and shocked of this selfless act.  I promised them that I will do everything possible to keep his memory alive so others can hear about Lt. Martyniak's heroic actions. 


I'm so happy that I was able to preserve his memory and reunite his items. This is honestly the greatest thing I have ever done, I brought comfort to a family and educated them about their father. 


I created a shadow box of his photo, ribbons and wings. I also recreated his ribbon bars for his uniform. I'm only missing a WWII victory ribbon and the oak leaves/stars. I'm going to do all I can to properly give Lt. Martyniak the respect he deserves. 



Lt. Martyniak And Cr....jpg



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Very cool - Thanks for sharing.  These such stories are great to hear, as usually encounters that are not so nice are the ones reported.  They made a good choice entrusting you.



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This is great news. But I think the best part is that the final chapter hasn't been written, Lt Martyniak will be remembered through the generosity of his family and your efforts.  And (many) years from now a new caretaker will have the opportunity to continue telling the "2Lt John A Martyniak, United States Army Air Forces" story.

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Thanks Old Crow. I am also in contact with the Goldfish Club in England. I  giving them all the information I have about Lt. Martyniak and they are going to fill out the paperwork for him. His paperwork was lost many years ago but they are going to make him an honorary member again, plus they will be writing up his experience so the members can learn about him. I will then be giving his son and daughter-in-law the certificate for his membership. 

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Wow. This damn bear brought me to tears....beautiful story. 

Something I learned in my heart detailed to funeral honors...if you tell someone’s story over and over, they never really die. 


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