Marcel Ozdowski, Joe Olona

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

Marcel Ozdowski
Date of birth: July 25, 1917
Dates of service: 1940 to 1945
Hometown: Virginia, Minn.
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Pacific
Branch: Army Air Corps
Rank: Master sergeant
Unit and Specialty: 43rd Bomb Group, 65th Squadron; mechanic, flight chief, wing chief, crew chief
Veterans organizations: Disabled American Veterans

In his words: Ozdowski repaired and maintained B-17s and B-29s.

“We had to fix them, they were pretty well shot up. The B-17s, they’re pretty tough airplanes.”

Ozdowski didn’t enjoy his time in the South Pacific.

“It was too hot, too many insects and bugs. The islands were all the same. We were on 24-hour duty. It was hard but there was nothing else to do. There wasn’t much to do really but just wander around the camp. Most of the time we would sleep, work and eat.”

Ozdowski rejoined the military when the Korean War began and served in the Vietnam War until 1966.

Joe Olona
Date of birth: April 14,1928
Dates of service: 1945 to 1947
Hometown: Santa Rosa
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Washington, D.C., and Washington state
Branch: Army
Rank: Private 1st Class
Unit: Corps of Engineers

Veterans organizations: Disabled American Veterans
In his words: Spending his tour of duty stateside, Olona said his service was a good experience. The Corps of Engineers taught Olona construction skills that he would rely on for the rest of his life. One of his duties was driving a two-and-a-half ton cargo truck, however, he said “we never knew what we were carrying, they didn’t tell us”

“I wouldn’t have minded going to Korea. You start thinking you gotta fight for your country.

“I had a great time, I met a lot of people. I got to see D.C., if I hadn’t been in the service I wouldn’t have seen it.”

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail:
sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com