Hryskanich, Lt. Colonel Peter
Age 93, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, World War II bomber and fighter pilot and ex-Japanese prisoner of war, died on December 29, 2013. He was a resident of Ft. Washington and Virginia Beach, VA.
Lt Colonel Hryskanich was born in Elmira Heights, NY, the son of the late John and Mary Hryskanich. He was a graduate of Thomas A. Edison High School and the Rochester Business Institute. He was a stand-out in baseball, football and basketball and was inducted into the Elmira Heights Sports Hall of Fame of which he was very proud.
In the fall of 1941, he signed a contract to be a pitcher with the Boston Braves. However, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the Army Air Force, giving up his dream of playing pro- baseball to proudly serve his country. While completing a bombing mission over the island of Saipan, his B-24 bomber was shot down in the ocean, where the 4 surviving crew members drifted for 5 days. They were the first Americans to be captured and imprisoned on that Island. He was flown to Yokosuka, Japan and was imprisoned for 18 months with "Pappy" Boyington, leader of the Black Sheep Squadron and Lou Zamporini, co-author of the book "UNBROKEN", which describes the brutal and continual punishment imposed on the prisoners. Pete was mentioned in the book.
Pete retired from the Army Air Force after 24 years of service with military decorations including a Purple Heart, Four Air Medals, Ex-Prisoner of War, and two Air Force Commendation Medals. After his retirement in 1965, he was employed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Pete served a total of 40 years with the Military and Federal Government.
He was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Colonel Marion Hryskanich, USAF, sisters Sophia and Anna. Surviving are brother Captain Paul (Ginger) Hryskanich of Virginia Beach, VA and sister Helen (Richard) Palmer of Elmira Heights, NY and many nieces and nephews.
A private service will be held.
Published in Star-Gazette on Jan. 19, 2014