Remembering An American Hero
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, Sir
Silver Star Citation
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Henry Kolakowski, Jr. (MCSN: 0-81631), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as Commanding Officer of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division in connection with operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On 30 January 1968, Captain Kolakowski's company landed by helicopter in the Hoa Vang District of Quang Nam Province and quickly established a blocking position to contain two Viet Cong battalions on a river island while a nearby Army of the Republic of Vietnam force prepared to assault the enemy position. When the attacking units encountered heavy resistance and faltered, Captain Kolakowski immediately effected the necessary coordination and led his company to relieve the attacking forces. The Viet Cong, well entrenched in a hamlet surrounded by wire entanglements and making effective use of excellent fields of fire afforded by open rice paddies, were successful in holding back the attacking forces by use of extremely heavy small arms fire, grenades and antitank rockets. With exceptional professional skill and courage, Captain Kolakowski reorganized his company while under the intense enemy fire, issued orders for supporting fire and prepared to re-assault the hamlet. Demonstrating superior tactical skill and inspiring leadership, he fearlessly exposed himself to the hostile fire as he led his troops in a second assault. When the lead elements of his unit succeeded in reaching the hamlet, he unhesitatingly advanced through heavy enemy cross fire and directed his men in aggressive attacks against the determined enemy. Consolidating his position with two platoons before darkness descended, Captain Kolakowski established a cordon by placing his remaining platoon in a blocking position adjacent to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam forces. Throughout the night, as the enemy repeatedly attempted to break through the perimeter in human wave attacks, he disregarded his own safety as he directed his men in maintaining their positions. The following morning, Captain Kolakowski resumed the attack on the entrapped enemy, contributing significantly to 102 of the enemy confirmed killed, the capture of eighty-eight soldiers and the destruction or confiscation of large quantities of ammunition, equipment and valuable documents. By his exceptional professionalism, dauntless courage and unswerving devotion to duty, Captain Kolakowski upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: 30-Jan-68
Service: Marine Corps
Company: Company I
Battalion: 3d Battalion
Regiment: 5th Marines
Division: 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF
If UI should die...remembrances for CAPT. Henry KOLAKOWSKI, JR, USMC...who died for our country!!!!!
If I should die, and leave you here awhile, be not like others, sore un done, 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.