On Wednesday January 19, 2022, Batavia resident Chief Warrant Officer-4 Bob Bialkowski US Army (Ret) had the honor and privilege to attend and participate at a funeral in Arlington National Cemetery. I and five other members of a Pilot’s Fraternity from Buffalo attended the funeral of Edward A. Kozlowski, Jr. originally from Buffalo, NY. Ed was a fellow member of our fraternity.
Ed was a highly decorated Army helicopter pilot that had been shot down in Vietnam three times during 1969, once behind enemy lines which required an assault helicopter to provide aerial cover to drive back the enemy so that Ed and his crew could be rescued. In 1971 Ed became a member of the N.Y. Army Guard in Niagara Falls that I was a member of. After about a year Ed was chosen to transfer to the Air Force where he attended fixed wing flight school and went on to serve his country flying Aerial Refueling Tankers at SAC in Rome N.Y. Ed’s next tour he was assigned to flying the Top Secret AWAC aircraft at Tinker A.F. base for ten years where he was an Instructor and Aircraft Commander. Ed retired as a Major and went on to fly commercial aircraft for several years.
His funeral at Arlington was with full Military Honors. We were honored to walk to the ceremony site behind a Caisson with Ed’s remains, pulled by six horses with a full contingent of an Air Force Marching Band, Color Guard, Armed Unit and Squad of Armed Rifle men for the salute. Ed’s service was held near the burial site where the band played several times; an Air Force Chaplain read psalms and the presentation of the flag to the family was made.
Representatives of the Secretary of Defense were also in attendance to offer their condolences. There were approximately thirty members of the Air Force that participated. We then walked to Ed’s grave site with his family to say our final farewells. Walking on the grounds of Arlington where over fifty thousand veterans, many of whom paid
the ultimate price are buried was one of the most humbling experiences in my life. Participating in the funeral service was a great honor that I will always remember. We will be forever grateful to the Kozlowski family.