Before December 7, 1941 life in the United States was pleasant. Crime rates were low, the employment rate was up and everyone across the nation seemed to be in a good mood. After all we had just gotten out of The Great Depression.
On Sunday December 7, 1941 out nation was celebrating an All-American tradition, Sunday-afternoon football. In Milwaukee Wisconsin, Edward Kosmowski and Richard Sawyer were sitting in-front of the radio listening to their favorite team, the Green bay Packers, get clobbered by their undefeated rivals, the Chicago Bears. Just when the two boys thought the game couldn’t get any worse, the game went dead and an announcer came on and said the following, “This is a National Emergency Announcement./ We have just learned the United States Hawaiian Naval Base, Pearl Harbor, was bombed by the Japanese Naval Air-Force just moments ago… This means war,” The very next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the announcement that the U.S. had just entered the Second World War
Anger and rage spread across the country, but for Ed and Richard feeling the emotions wasn’t enough. Something had to be done. They set it in their mind and hearts that they needed to enlist as soon as possible. There were just two problems, their age, and their protective Polish mothers. The mothers of the teens would not sign off on the enlistment papers for Ed, 17, and Richard, 16. Eddie had just six more months until he turned eighteen, and could go off and help his country win the war, but six months seemed like an eternity for the bay back then. “You have this anxiety building like a wildfire, to get out in the world and fight for what’s yours,” Kosmowski exclaims.
Finally the day came where Mr. Edward Robert Kosmowski was of legal age to enlist. Within the next few days the now “grownup” boy marched down to the Federal Building in downtown Milwaukee with another of-age neighbor boy, and enlisted in the Army Air Force Cadet Program. Kosmowski passed a series of examinations and waited to take and pass the physical too. The neighbor unfortunately did not pass all of the exams and therefore could no longer enlist. Ed now stood alone, ready for battle.
About two weeks after he passed the physical Edward had received the call of an opening at an Air-Force pre-flight training base in Santa Anna, California. He arrived at the base by train and trained for three months to become a pilot. After the three successful months of training was complete Kosmo was transferred to Twenty-nine Palms Air Academy for flight training.
Mr. Edward Kosmowski thought he was living the dream until the day both he and an instructor had a miscommunication between the two of them. While on another test flight, the instructor asked Ed for full control of the PT-17 open cockpit steersman, and Ed did as he was told but the instructor didn’t. Neither of the men had control of the plane and before either one of them had any time to think the plane was bouncing down the runway, flipped, and screeched to a stop with one less wing than it had before. As Eddie remembers that eye-opening experience he adds “It’s never the man in charge’s fault, always the trainees,”
Since becoming a pilot wasn’t an option anymore Mr. K was sent off to a reassignment base in Fresno California, and soon after shipped off to Amarillo, Texas for Air Mechanics School. After A.M. school Ed was off to Champaign, Illinois for Engine-Control school...