EDWARD G. POLANSKI
Colonel | Field Artillery
As Ed eagerly awaited assignment to a theater of combat, the war dwindled and ended before he finished training as a Naval aviation cadet. He continued his education in college, graduating in 1949 and joining the Connecticut National Guard in October of that year. At the end of 1951, he moved to Fort Sill, home of the artillery, to train as a liaison pilot and attend the Army Aviation Tactical Course. Finally the day came when Ed received his orders for Korea and, on October 7, 1952 moved to Camp Stoneman to sail to the Far East.
As a 1st Lieutenant, he was assigned as a liaison pilot to Headquarters Company, 2d Infantry Division upon his arrival in Korea twenty days later. For the next seven months, Ed spent long hours in his L-19, droning above the combat zone spotting targets for the Division's artillery and infantry. From the skies, the scorched earth below was a network of trenches and bunkers that followed the sharp contours of Korea's precipitous mountains and ridges. The Chinese positions were less obvious, often dug into the landmasses and invisible by day. The common characteristic of both sides were the craters remaining from dreadful artillery barrages day and night.
On one occasion, as he and his observer were scouting targets, they were repeatedly harassed by an enemy machine gun position. After getting pretty 'teed off,' they began making passes at the machine gun nest as Ed's observer Lieutenant Moran fired off rounds from his .45 at the gunner. After two passes, the gunner stopped firing and Polanski and Moran figured they had a possible kill. If he survived the volley of slugs, he was certainly scared of any men wielding pistols out of an airplane.
After his service with the 2d Division, he was assigned to the Korean Military Advisory Group where on at least one occasion, Ed was the pilot for South Korean president Syngman Rhee. Though the assignment was only two months, he made some impact during his tenure and received a signed letter of appreciation from Paik Sun Yup.
Polanski continued to serve in the Connecticut Army National Guard until the late 1970s. He received the Army Commendation Medal for his service during the famous Flood of '55. While piloting an H-19 helicopter, he is credited with rescuing twelve people from rooftops when the Farmington River flooded in Unionville. Not only does Ed's story speak for interesting service in Korea, his connection with Connecticut history is outstanding.