Those Who Served

There are literally millions of stories about the American wartime experience. Following are a couple of examples of the stories you will find at the Americans in Wartime Museum.  If you have your own story you want to tell, visit “Share Your Story” to learn more.

In Uniform

Christian Golczynski, 8, receives the flag from his father’s casket by Lieutenant Colonel Richard “Ric” Thompson, April 4, 2007 at Wheel Cemetery in Bedford County, Tennessee.

Christian’s father, Marine Staff Sergeant Marcus Andrew Golczynski, “Marc”, was a 30-year-old machine gunner who died on March 27 [2007] from a fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen while serving in Iraq. Golczynski had only two weeks remaining on his second tour.

Golczynski is survived by his wife, Heather, and son, Christian, who reside in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “Marc will always be a hero to me and Christian and we will carry him forever,” said his wife Heather. “[Marc] found purpose in the Marines.”  “He was my chameleon,” she said of how Marc could “fit in” all groups and bring laughter.

Marc Golczynski was on his high school wrestling team (Marshall County High School). He was also the Mascot of the Marshall County Tigers football team. Golczynski would remove the large tiger head of his mascot costume to play in the band’s brass section. He’d snap the 7-foot tail as joke and his family would worry that he’d trip over it as the band marched backwards.

Born in Georgia, Golczynski grew up in Lewisburg where he joined the Marine Reserves. While not on duty he managed Ruby Tuesday restaurants, but in the recent years before his death, Golczynski lived in Murfreesboro where he worked at Franklin Print Works which is owned by his father, Henry.

A Purple Heart was presented to the Golczynski family by the U.S. Marines at the church and a 21-gun salute was fired in his honor followed by taps at Wheel Cemetery.

Aaron Thompson, a photographer at The Daily News Journal at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, took this photo of Christian at his father’s funeral.  For it he received the Photo of the Year honors from the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.

Sources:

  • Adapted from an article written by Clint Confehr, 4/5/07, Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN.
  • Photographer Aaron Thompson, The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN.
  • Photo is copyrighted by the Gannett Company, Inc.

On The Home Front

Jean in May 1979

From 1942 to 1945, Jean Carrubba worked at Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in Newark, New Jersey. “We made circuit breakers for ships during the War [WWII]. Big ones. When I started at Westinghouse I was only 22. I went to school for three months to learn how to read blue prints and to use the tools to build the breakers. There were 30 other men and women in my class. The men were mostly 4 F men [men who were not able to join the military due to health concerns].”

“Several of the men had the job of building the boxes that housed the wires. All the breaker boxes were made of metal in the welding department downstairs. The welders worked the hardest and often had to go to the nursing station for eye drops to clean out the debris in their eyes. Every morning I assisted the nurse in the nursing station for a couple of hours before I went on to the floor to thread the wires. Helping others in the nursing station was my favorite part of the job. I loved that part.”

“The wires were all color coded, so you knew which wires went where in the boxes. Each box was inspected by a Navy inspector. I remember one poor inspector got burned pretty bad and had to be taken to the hospital after his leg got caught. The inspectors had a dangerous job. We all loved the foremen. There was one foreman to each floor of the plant. They were great guys. All were trained electrical engineers.”

“The plant managers would occasionally stop production to give us Pep Talks about how things were going with the war production.”

“When the war ended, we were all let go: men and women alike. The plant started to immediately transfer back to its normal production”. The Westinghouse Company built apparatus for the generation, transmission and application alternating current electricity.

Jean was married in June 1946 to Claude Milton Depew (“Milt”). He served in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers during WWII in the Aleutian Islands. He was also a sharp shooter and precision marcher. He performed for one year for the post-war War Bond Tour.

Jean and Milton Depew had 2 daughters, Patricia Wirth and Linda Depew, and they lived in Newton, New Jersey. Milton Depew was a Charter Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars #5360 in Newton, New Jersey. Milton has since passed away in 1982. Jean is still a card carrying member of VFW #5360. She served many times as President of the Auxiliary, and as the District President. She was also a two-time State Flag Bearer for New Jersey, and a Chairwoman for the State Cancer Program.

Jean Carrubba Depew turned 87 in April 2009 and now resides in Springfield, Virginia.

Written by Nancy Coursen