Edward F. Blazejewski – Corporal, United States Army

Edward Frank Blazejewski

Union, New Jersey
Born 1925
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Service Number 12340083
Killed in Action
Died November 1, 1950 in Korea

Private First Class Blazejewski was a Medic with the Medical Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was Killed in Action while tending his wounded comrades near Unsan, North Korea on November 1, 1950. His remains were not recovered.

Private First Class Blazejewski was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Medical Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.|

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
August 10, 2006
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public/Industry(703) 428-0711

Soldier Missing in Action From the Korean War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Corporal Edward F. Blazejewski, U.S. Army, of Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. on Friday, 11 August 2006.

Blazejewski was assigned to Medical Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, when his unit came under heavy artillery attack by Chinese forces near Unsan, North Korea, on November 1, 1950. During the attack, Corporal Blazejewski and other soldiers killed in action were left behind when their unit moved to a previous defensive position. A U.S. soldier who had been held as a prisoner of war by the North Koreans told debriefers that Blazejewski and others had been killed by a grenade explosion.

In August 1997, a joint U.S.-North Korean team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) excavated a site in Pyongan Province believed to contain the remains of several U.S. soldiers. Remains representing four men were recovered, as well as an identification tag and a denture, neither of which were associated with Blazejewski.

The other three soldiers were identified and buried in 2000. Buried at Arlington were Sergeant James T. Higgins, Benham, Kentucky; and Private First Class John L. Hoey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sergeant Andrew Ernandis, Brooklyn, New York, was buried in Hicksville, N.Y. Group remains representing all four soldiers will also be buried Friday at Arlington.

Among other forensic identification tools, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of Blazejewski's remains, matching a DNA sequence from a maternal relative.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site or call (703) 699-1169.

Saturday, August 12, 2006
Courtesy of the New Jersey Star-Ledger

All they had were letters, penned in Polish and mailed from the battlefield, and medals, awarded posthumously after Army Corporal Edward F. Blazejewski was killed nearly 56 years ago during the Korean War.

During a heavy artillery attack, his unit was forced to retreat, so the body of Blazejewski, 25, of Elizabeth, never received a proper burial.

Until yesterday.

On a brilliant, cloudless day, relatives traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to bid Blazejewski a final, fitting farewell. The courageous soldier's long journey home “came to an end in a very beautiful military fashion,” said Edward Ciurczak, 57, a nephew.

“Whoever was responsible, we are very grateful that this came to a conclusion, that this mystery came to an end, and that he is back home and he is buried at Arlington,” Ciurczak said yesterday, as he rode back by car to Bethlehem Township after the service.

It was November 1, 1950, and Blazejewski was part of Medical Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, during the Korean War, according to the Department of Defense.

Ciurczak learned his uncle was a medic tending to fellow servicemen in a foxhole when they came under intense fire from Chinese forces near Unsan, North Korea.

“They all died together,” he said.

Their unit moved to a previous defensive position, and had to leave their fallen comrades behind.

A U.S. soldier who had been held as a prisoner of war later told officials the men had been killed by a grenade explosion.

lazejewski, however, did make it home while he was in the service. Ciurczak was about 3 or 4 at the time, but remembers gathering at the house on Pennington Street in Elizabeth.

“That memory is me looking up from the floor and he was eating a (homemade) bowl of soup,” he said. “He was home on some kind of leave. He had a uniform on. Everybody was sitting around the table and talking to him. They were excited that he was there.”

A nephew named for Blazejewski said he remembers seeing some of his uncle's letters.

“You always heard stories,” Edward F. Blazejewski, 52, of Middletown, said Thursday night. “It's amazing that they went back to the battlefield and found the remains.”

In August 1997, a joint U.S.-North Korean team excavated a site in Pyongan province believed to contain the remains of several U.S. soldiers. The remains of four men were recovered and returned to the U.S.

Three of the soldiers were identified in 2000. Only recently did scientists match DNA from Ciurczak's mother, Helen, who is now 87, in poor health and living in Florida.

“Can you imagine having a sibling that was missing for over 50 years and all of a sudden you find out they found his remains?” he said. “She was very excited and very thankful.”

Ciurczak planned to call her later yesterday afternoon to replay the day's events.

“There is something about the place,” he said of the cemetery. “It's hallowed ground. It belongs to every American. It's a very amazing place. Very peaceful, very beautiful … and now it's more personal.”

Saturday, August 12, 2006:

The remains of a Korean War soldier from New Jersey were buried yesterday in Arlington National Cemetery. Army Corporal Edward F. Blazejewski's unit came under heavy artillery attack from Chinese forces during the war, which lasted from June 1950 to July 1953. Blazejewski, 25, of Elizabeth, was killed in action along with other soldiers, and their bodies were left behind when their unit had to move out.

Blazejewski's remains were recovered in August 1997 along with those of three other soldiers, but his were not positively identified until this year.

Along with Blazejewski's remains, a group casket representing Blazejewski and the three other soldiers identified in 2000 also was buried yesterday, said Larry Greer, the Pentagon's spokesman for its POW-MIA office. The other soldiers were Private First Class John T. Hoey of Philadelphia; Sergeant Andrew Ernandis of Brooklyn, New York; and Sergeant James T. Higgins of Benham, Kentucky.

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