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is honored on Panel 32W, Line 18 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Leave a Remembrance


  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 11/23/13 - by Curt Carter
    Dear Major Robert John Zukowski, sir

    As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

    May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

    With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir

    Curt Carter
  • I have been wearing the MIA bracelet for Major Robert J Zukowski

    Posted on 9/15/13 - by Sheila Jones
    I have had the honor of wearing a MIA bracelet for Major Robert J Zukowski for the last 24 years. I have learned that the remains of this hero were found and returned to his family. I would love to send this bracelet to his family and let them know how honored I have been to wear it. While I never had the privilege of knowing Major Zukowski in life, it meant a lot to me to be the one to wear this MIA bracelet for him.
    He is my hero.
    Rest in Peace Major
  • If I should die...remembrances for MAJ. Robert John ZUKOWSKI, USAF...who made the ultimate sacrifice

    Posted on 6/5/10
    If I should die, and leave you here awhile, be not likme others, sore undone, who keep long vigils by the silent dust, and weep...for MY sake, turn again to life, and smile...Nerving thy heart, and trembling hand to do something to comfort other hearts than thine...Complete these dear, unfinished tasks of mine...and I, perchance, may therein comfort you.
  • Do not stand at my grave and weep

    Posted on 2/11/09 - by Bob Ross
    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning's hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

    Mary Frye – 1932


    Posted on 12/13/05 - by CLAY MARSTON CMARSTON@INTERLOG.COM

    The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yoeman service on many diversified missions in Southeast Asia.

    F105s flew more combat missions over North Vietnam than any other USAF aircraft and consequently suffered the heaviest losses in action.

    They dropped bombs by day and occasionally by night from high or low altitude and some later versions ( F105D in Wild Weasel guise ) attacked SAM sites with their radar tracking air-to-ground missiles.

    This versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian MiGs.

    On 11 February 1969, Major Zukowski led a mission of two F-105D aircraft from Takhli Air Base on a mission over Laos.

    It was during the attack on a heavily defended area that his plane was shot down.

    Major Zukowski was placed in a missing in action status at that time.

    On 15 January 1979, his status was changed by the Department of Defense to presumed killed in action.

    For Zukowski, death seems a certainty.

    Prior to Major Zukowski's military service he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Detroit College of Engineering and Architecture.

    He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of American Military Engineers.

    He enthusiastically participated in intramural sports and was an active member of the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps throughout his college years.

    Major Zukowski began his Air Force career with flight training after being commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 16 October 1966.

    The following year, he was awarded the aeronautical rating of Pilot, and received his wings at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas on 21 October 1967.

    His foreign service tour of duty commenced on 12 June 1968 as a pilot with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Air Base, Thailand.

    During the next seven months, Major Zukowski flew one-hundred twenty-two combat missions in support of military operations in Southeast Asia.

    He earned the following awards:

    Distinquished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster

    Air Medal with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters

    Purple Heart

    Good Conduct Medal

    National Defense Service Medal

    Vietnam Service Medal

    Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal

    USAF Longevity Service Award Ribbon.

    Major Zukowski was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Frank Zukowski; and three brothers, Thomas, Raymond and Michael.



    by Stephanie Gehring
    Staff Writer


    A pallbearer dressed in full mid military uniform lifted the folded American flag above his head with his white-gloved hands, then slowly lowered it to chest level before placing it into a triangular wooden box.

    The boxed flag was given to Anthony Zukowski with a salute from another pallbearer.

    Zukowski clutched it tightly. It was for the son he had lost so long ago.

    Eyes turned upward as four military planes flew over Resurrection Cemetery in Justice.

    They flew in formation until one suddenly broke away.

    The pilot pointed his plane upward and disappeared into Friday's grey sky.

    The others flew on without him.

    A military honor guard from Scott Air Force Base in downstate Illinois fired
    a 21-gun salute.

    Taps were played.

    Air Force fighter pilot Major Robert John Zukowski, who grew up in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood, was laid to rest in a dramatic ceremony with full military honors, 27 years after his F-105D fighter plane was shot down in Laos during the Vietnam War.

    Thomas Zukowski, Robert's older brother, said his father and the rest of the family felt a sense of closure.

    " It means a lot to him-to every member of the family. We're a pretty close-knit family," Thomas Zukowski said " Not knowing for sure is always something we lived with."

    His remains and some of his personal effects were returned to the United States last month after U.S. military personnel worked with Laos officials to find the plane wreckage and excavate the site.

    The major was classified as missing in action from 11 February 1969, until 1979 when the U.S. government changed his status to killed in action because of the circumstances surrounding his death.

    He was 25 at the time his plane went down, during his 122nd combat mission for the Air Force.

    But Laotian officials were slow to allow American personnel in, so years dragged on before the family would really know for sure of the major's fate and the highly decorated pilot would receive the military burial he deserved, Anthony Zukowski said.

    " It would have been sooner if Laos would have acknowledged them sooner," Anthony Zukowski said.

    Thomas Zukowski said it was the family's understanding that American personnel were not allowed in Laos to see the crash site until 1993.

    It wasn't until early this year that they performed the first 30-day excavation.

    In April another excavation was conducted.

    The remains of eight other military men have already been shipped in or will be shipped in by the end of this month.

    The major's youngest brother Michael Zukowski, flew to Travis Air Force Base in California to personally escort his brothers' remains back to the Chicago area.

    The remains had been positively identified at the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii.

    Now the family, which moved to Burbank 10 years ago, has more than just memories to hold onto.

    The excavations also recovered two dog tags, a wristwatch and a St. Christopher medal along with other military items and his blood chit, a fiber document with an American flag printed on it and a declaration that whoever helps Zukowski back to safety would be rewarded, Thomas Zukowski said.

    The family used the St. Christopher medal returned to help them explain to his mother, Stella, what had happened. Stella Zukowski suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

    " We showed her the St. Christopher medal and we let my mother touch it," Thomas Zukowski said. " She started to cry. We think she understands."

    Thomas Zukowski said he hoped they were right.

    " She took Bob's death 27 years ago very hard," Thomas Zukowski said. "I'm sorry she couldn't be here."

    Thomas Zukowski said his brother was wearing the wristwatch at the time of the crash.

    The major had purchased his watch along with one for his father and each of his three brothers, Thomas, Raymond and Michael, while on leave one day. Each watch had the man's name engraved on it.

    " We all still have the watches he gave us before he left," Thomas Zukowski said. The major was buried with his.

    The family decided to keep one of the dog tags, the St. Christopher medal and the major's blood chit.

    The other items collected from the crash site were fondly placed in the grey and silver casket Friday morning before it was taken to Resurrection Cemetery, Thomas Zukowski said.

    Many of the family gathered for the private services were nieces and nephews who vaguely remembered their uncle or never knew him.

    But Thomas' son, Greg Zukowski, 26, who was born after his uncle died said the burial was good for the whole family.

    " I never met him," Greg Zukowski said. " So it's hard to connect with him. But we're looking for closure for the family. It's hard having something always in the back of your head."

    ( 1996 )

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The Wall of Faces

Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.

All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit