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A Green Beret and More

Courtesy Leonard J. Kratcoski

A Green Beret and More

Leonard J. Kratcoski enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and was assigned to the Third Battalion 29th Marine Engineers 4th Marine Division in the Pacific theater of operations during World War II.

According to the obituary in The Daily Review in Towanda, Pennsylvania, He was badly wounded in the battle of Saipan in 1944, got his first Purple Heart, and was evacuated to a hospital ship where he spent three months. Following his recovery, he returned to the Third Battalion on Tinian Island. Leonard was engaged in building the runways on Tinian from which the planes that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan took off.

Leonard then returned to Saipan.

The obit traces in great detail Kratcoski’s path through his Naval service aboard the USS New York after the war, later joining the Army and receiving his second Purple Heart during the Korean War. He served with the 82nd Airborne and eventually ended up in Vietnam.

He served with the Fifth Special Forces, the famed Green Berets, dropping supplies to his fellow Berets. He was based at HQ and met General Westmoreland. Later he was transferred to the Valley Forge Military Hospital, then to Fort Dix, New Jersey, to work in supplies. Finally it was time for one last assignment which took him to Korea to serve in a military advisory group. Then in 1970 he retired.

In his retirement, Kratcoski volunteered at the Endless Mountains War Memorial Museum.

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This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.