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The collection of Technical Srg. Paul W. Szymkowski

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Before I show you the pictures, I will tell you his story. Paul W. Szymkowski was a pharmacy technician that joined the military during the heat of World War 2. After training at Camp Grant, Illinois, he was eventually added to the members of the First Infantry Division as a medic shortly before Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily.

 

He completed that segment of the campaign, and then traveled to somewhere around Dorset, England, to train with the rest of the First for D-Day. He landed somewhere around Dog Red or Easy Green along Omaha Beach. As segments of the First advanced inland into St-Laurent-sur-Mer, Paul crossed across heavy enemy fire to aid in the treatment and evacuation of a severely wounded soldier. For this heroic action, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

 

He advanced with the Division throughout the rest of the war to it's end in Czechoslovakia. While in Czechoslovakia, parts of the First were stationed at the castle Metternich, where he "liberated" the massive tablecloth from the main table as well as two small swords.

 

He received several medals for his, and the division's, actions during the war, but he only ever received his Bronze Star. In the late 1980's, he contacted the Army and he received all of his medals, most of which were never removed from their packaging that you will see in the pictures.

 

He brought back many other items from the war, including a Turkish Mauser Rifle with bayonet, three pairs of Nazi binoculars, 2 Nazi k98 bayonets, piles of coins (he was a numismatist), and a Walther P-38 serial number 71262. He sold the rifle and P-38 during the 60's-70's crying.gif . If you know the whereabouts of the P-38, please contact me.

 

He remained in the National Guard and was called up for duty again during the Korean War. He never actually went back into the service because of his prominent job in the local society. He was a pharmacist in a heavily industrialized area that produced supplies for the war. The mayor himself sent a letter to the recruitment officer explaining this situation as well as how he had to support a son (my father) back at home. These facts were taken into consideration and it was decided that he did not have to show up for re-training.

 

He died a few years ago and never talked about his military experiences. A few years before his death, he went to the First Infantry Division at Cantigny where he was interviewed about his entire military experience. I have not yet tried to contact them to see if they have a copy of the interview.


In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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FILE0129.jpg

 

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Yes-it is dated June 6, 1944. If I am reading this right, this jacket was made ON D-Day!FILE0149.jpg


In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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Great uniform and story!! Thanks for sharing!

 

-Ski


In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

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FILE0187.jpg

 

FILE0188.jpg

 

Not sure what the blue rectangle is.

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I don't know why it has an oak leaf cluster.

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Little tiny Honorable Discharge. I also have all originals as well.

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In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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FILE0215.jpg

 

FILE0217.jpg

 

FILE0230.jpg

 

The WW2 original Bronze Star.

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I do not know what the three circular patches are, but all are original and have been in the family since issue.

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That's all the pictures I have for now. There is an entire box of his papers that I didn't take any pictures of. I will update this topic as I take more pictures, but all of these items are currently at my Grandmother's house, so I do not have direct access to them. Feel free to ask any questions, I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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Outstanding group. Thanks for posting it,

 

Bryan

You're welcome. More to come in the following weeks.


In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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Very impressive career and outstanding grouping.

Btw, the round patches are: 8th USAAF - United States Army Air Forces - Army Service Forces.

 

Erwin


704th Tank Destroyer Battalion

 

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Truly outstanding... uniform, medals, pictures and all. Thanks for letting us see it.

~Rabbit


~Sean

WANTED: Philippine Department & Division patch variations, uniforms, & other items.
~In honor of Private Placido Conejos, 14th Engineer Regt. (Philippine Scouts). KIA on Bataan, 02/13/1942

My links: My P.I. "Mini-Museum" | Lolo's WWII Service | ASMIC Newsletter Editor (4653) | PSHS Nat. PRO & Webmaster




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Very, very nice and well documented.

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I think the blue rectangle ribbon is a Presidential Unit Citation ribbon

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Thanks for posting.An awesome group. thumbsup.gif

 

The DIs appear to be theatre made

 

RD


In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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Awesome grouping and, if I'm understanding correctly, it belonged to your Grandfather which makes it even more meaningful. Thanks for sharing!


KANSAS ITEMS WANTED - WWII Uniforms, photos, Purple Hearts, etc - TOP DOLLAR PAID!!!!

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Thank you all for the positive input. More thanks to Jeeper704 (Erwin) and ithaca37 for id'ing the patches and small ribbon bar. Also, Doyler, what are the DI's? I have never heard of this before.

 

And this is only half the collection! I still have original Stars and Stripes newspapers as well as HUNDREDS of documents and other ephemera.

 

Paul


In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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Awesome grouping and, if I'm understanding correctly, it belonged to your Grandfather which makes it even more meaningful. Thanks for sharing!

 

Thanks! Also, it did belong to my grandfather. I will be purchasing an small torso mannequin in the near future to make a real display for it and take it out of a boring closet.


In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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Thank you all for the positive input. More thanks to Jeeper704 (Erwin) and ithaca37 for id'ing the patches and small ribbon bar. Also, Doyler, what are the DI's? I have never heard of this before.

 

And this is only half the collection! I still have original Stars and Stripes newspapers as well as HUNDREDS of documents and other ephemera.

 

Paul

 

 

Paul,

 

The DIs(Distinctive Insinia) are the emblems on the lower labels.They designate the infantry regiment your grandfather served in.A sub unit of the 1st Infantry Division.Several regiments made up the Division.Your grandfathers regiment the 18th Infantry In Omnia Paratus(Prepared In All Things).THey could be made in Austria or Czhecloslovakia.THe fasteneing pin is a clue to overseas made DIs in your case.Yours may also be hand painted or enameled.

 

RON


In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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I don't know why it has an oak leaf cluster.

FILE0194.jpg

It looks like those are replacement medals issued by the military in recent years. The reason there is an oak leaf cluster on the Bronze Star is because in 1947 the Army decided that anyone who had earned the Combat Infantry Badge or Combat Medic Badge during World War II would be retroactively awarded a Bronze Star. This was in addition to the award he earned on D-Day. His records were probably never updated to reflect this unless he stayed in the Army after the war. If you have his paperwork he received with the replacement medals, there was probably a Bronze Star certificate stating it was awarded "for meritorious service in ground combat against an armed enemy in the European Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941 and May 8, 1945" or some similar language. Here is a link to the Army's Institute of Heraldry page on the Bronze Star. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page for a better explanation of the award to Combat Medic Badge recipients.

 

http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/BRONZE%20STAR1.html

 

After reading the citation for the Bronze Star, since it was for heroic achievement, I believe he should have been awarded a "V" device for the medal.

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It looks like those are replacement medals issued by the military in recent years. The reason there is an oak leaf cluster on the Bronze Star is because in 1947 the Army decided that anyone who had earned the Combat Infantry Badge or Combat Medic Badge during World War II would be retroactively awarded a Bronze Star. This was in addition to the award he earned on D-Day. His records were probably never updated to reflect this unless he stayed in the Army after the war. If you have his paperwork he received with the replacement medals, there was probably a Bronze Star certificate stating it was awarded "for meritorious service in ground combat against an armed enemy in the European Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941 and May 8, 1945" or some similar language. Here is a link to the Army's Institute of Heraldry page on the Bronze Star. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page for a better explanation of the award to Combat Medic Badge recipients.

 

http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/BRONZE%20STAR1.html

 

After reading the citation for the Bronze Star, since it was for heroic achievement, I believe he should have been awarded a "V" device for the medal.

Thanks for the info. The medal in the picture is from the late 80's based on the dates on the other medals. All of those medals are currently stored in their original shipping box as well.

 

I believe this is the closest thing I have to the paper you are talking about. It says that there is an enclosed certificate, but I do not know it's whereabouts. This is the packing slip I guess for the box of medals. I just happened to have some pictures of it.

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The complete list of medals he won

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Guide to the above list

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Also, thanks to Doyler (Ron) for explaining the DI's. I sorta thought that was what you were talking about, but I wasn't sure. There don't seem to be any markings on them that I can remember other than the front.

 

Paul


In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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His site at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery as of 5-26-09. Columbarium 2 row 31 (I think it's 31).

FILE0049.jpg


In Omnia Paratus

 

Interested in original First Infantry Division items.

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Great uniform!! A D-Day Hero!!!

 

Thank you for sharing!

 

Greetings,

 

Ricardo.


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Outstanding group. Thanks for posting it,

 

Bryan

Outstanding piece of history, God Bless Your Grandfather and all that have fought for this country.

Strength and Honor

John


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