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Home : News : News Features
NEWS | Nov. 26, 2019

104th Fighter Wing original member turns 100

By Airman Camille Lienau 104th Fighter Wing

WESTFIELD, Mass. – The 104th Fighter Wing celebrated Col. Edwin J. Malikowski's 100th birthday with a surprise party in the main hangar Nov. 25, four days before his actual birthday.

"I'm honored to have the privilege today to host Colonel Edwin J. Malikowski," said Col. Peter T. Green, 104th Fighter Wing commander. "And celebrate his upcoming 100th birthday."

Malikowski is active and works at the family business Mal Brothers Auto Body in Chicopee, Massachusetts, with his son Edwin J. Malikowski Jr.

"My dad is the type of person where anything his family wanted, he would do," said Edwin Malikowski Jr. "He loves his family as much as he loves this country. If this country were to ask him in all these years of service to do something, it would be instantaneous for him."

In January 1941, Malikowski was called to active duty and served in World War II as a platoon sergeant. In February 1945, he was given a rare honor of a battlefield commission to second lieutenant and then two months later awarded a battlefield promotion to first lieutenant.

His combat record includes service in Northern France, Ardennes- Alsace, Germany, and Central Europe. Additionally, Malikowski served in the notorious Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive on the Western Front during WWII. He received two bronze stars, the first for meritorious service and the second for valor.

After WWII, Malikowski served as a maintenance officer in the Army Reserve until April 23, 1952, when he was appointed the motor vehicle maintenance officer in the 104th Fighter Group. During the Berlin Crisis call up, he served as commander of the 104th Transportation Squadron in Phalsbourg, France.

In August 1962, he became the aircraft maintenance officer in the 104th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and later the commander. In June 1970, Malikowski was appointed the fulltime chief of maintenance on the Air Technical Detachment.

"I was ordered by the Pentagon to travel to Vietnam," he said. "And send out 78 F-100s from the United States on a routine basis."

He was awarded the Massachusetts Medal of Merit on Oct. 16, 1977. After 39 years of faithful service, he retired at the rank of colonel.

"Pay attention to detail, remembering the details will set you forward in all aspects of life," he said. "Work life, personal life; you can accomplish anything if you focus on the small steps."