The Bristol Press – The late Brigadier-General Wozenski, Bristol’s most decorated veteran, has new monument on Memorial Boulevard
BRISTOL – A monument dedicated to the late Brigadier-General Edward Wozenski, Bristol’s most decorated veteran, was unveiled on Saturday, with city leaders, veterans and their families gathering to show their respect.
In addition to the new monument on Memorial Boulevard dedicated to Wozenski, a new sign was unveiled on the section of South Street leading to Memorial Boulevard, which was renamed “Wozenski Way”.
Wozenski was born in Bristol in 1915 and died in 1987. His decorations include two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Silver Stars and the Bronze Star. He also received the Medal of Praise, the Belgian Fourragère, the French Fourragère, the Fourragère in military medallion, the French Croix-de-Guerre with bronze star, the American Overseas Medal, six bars from overseas. -sea, Europe-Africa-Middle East campaign ribbons and quotes from presidential unity.
According to the members of the monument committee, the event which represented the culmination of their efforts was a “great success”. The dedication included the showing of audio tapes spoken by Wozenski, speakers including family members and city leaders and the laying of a wreath on the monument with the Color Guard. Following the inauguration, a reception was held at the Bristol Historical Society.
“That’s what our committee was created for – to show why this man deserved a monument on Memorial Boulevard,” said Carol Denehy. “I think we’ve had a lot of success.
Tom LaPorte, who was the event’s emcee, said it “went very well.” He thanked city and local leaders for coming to show their support and Mike Ravita for conducting the music for the unveiling.
“He did an amazing job and really helped complete the program while showcasing Bristol’s musical talent,” he said. “Everything went well. ”
Mary Houle, Wozenski’s niece, said her family were “honored” to have the monument join those on Memorial Boulevard. About 25 family members gathered for the unveiling, some of them traveling from Pennsylvania and New Orleans to see it. Some, including Wozenski’s daughter Cynthia, shared memories and stories of their childhood with Wozenski. Family members wore poppy pins in his memory.
“It was wonderful,” she said. “We want to offer a big thank you to those who made this success. ”
Art Ward, another member of the committee, said the large attendance at the ceremony demonstrated Bristol’s commitment to honoring those who served in the military and Wozenski’s achievements.
“It is an honor for our city that every monument on Memorial Boulevard has been created with private funds,” he said.
Ward said Bristol was the first community to create a Vietnam War Memorial in 1973, before the war was over. Denehy added that the Bristol Civil War Memorial at West Cemetery was established in 1860 when the community’s 3,000 residents at the time donated a dollar to fund it.
Committee chair Bob Barnett, who was Wozenski’s driver when he commanded the Connecticut National Guard in the 1960s, reflected on his interactions with Wozenski over the years.
“It wasn’t until we went back six years ago and researched all these things about him that I realized I was sitting next to a war hero,” he said. said Barnett, who noted that those in military circles called Wozenski “Big Ed.”
Wozenski fought on D-Day and in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII and served with General George Patton in the Premier Division, known as “The Big Red One” in North Africa and Sicily. There is a hill in Sicily named “Wozenski Hill” in his honor.
On this hill, Wozenski’s bravery earned him a Distinguished Service Cross. He took a machine gun and advanced 100 yards from the enemy, firing at them single-handedly. His men, emboldened by his actions, moved to flank the enemy and accomplish their mission.
“When he told people about it, he just said ‘I took out a tank’; he never sounded his own horn, ”Denehy said.
Barnett said Wozenski does not put himself above others.
“He just expected people to do their jobs to the max, and if they failed they would hear about it,” Barnett said.
Barnett added that a military reunion of the 169th Regiment took place after the ceremony in which participants also honored Wozenski.
Denehy said Wozenski fought for 443 days in World War II. She said he had been mentioned in several famous WWII books, including “Invasion Diary” and “The Longest Day”. She is currently corresponding with Nick Pitt, an author in England, who is writing a book on the 16th Infantry Regiment, providing her with information on Wozenski.
After his service in World War II, Wozenski was deployed to Germany during the Korean War due to the threat of a Soviet invasion. He then became the commander of the Connecticut National Guard. He was also a director and held a supervisory position at Wallace Barnes Company, which would later become Barnes Group, Inc. He also ran as a Republican candidate for mayor.
Later, in October, a pedestal will be added to the monument. The Monuments Committee plans to meet again at the time of its installation.
Members of the monument committee include President Bob Barnett, Tom LaPorte, Wozenski’s niece Mary Houle, City Historian Bob Montgomery, City Councilor Scott Rosado, Carol Denehy of the Memorial Military Museum, Chair of the Elders Council Bristol fighters and former Mayor Art Ward and President of the Army Museum Mike Thomas.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or [email protected]