Thursday, November 11, 2010

American Legion, Joe Nowacki Post 16 Mackay Idaho and How It Was Named for Our Hero, the son of a Polish Immigant, Private Joe Nowacki, US. Army

Joseph Dennis "Joe" Nowacki was a young man from Mackay, Idaho born October 10, 1894. He was the son of George and Margaret (Bliver) Nowacki who immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1869. We do not know how Joe came to join the National Guard troops from Pennsylvania, however, he served with the Keystone Division, leaving the U.S. early in 1918. The Division participated in the Champagne-Marne defensive and the Aisne-Marne offensive. The Division’s outstanding exploits would cause the Germans to call them the “Bloody Bucket” Division. A first hand account of Joe’s death was given by a fellow Idahoan, John Lehman from Barton Flat. The following is John’s eyewitness account: “On October 1st a hospital was subjected to German fire and another effort was made to rout the Huns. This, too, failed and on the next day, the 2nd of October, another objective was set for the Allies and the boys’ again went over the top. It was in this fight that Joe Nowacki received the shell shock which resulted in the loss of his life. I and another brother, Carl (Lehman), were together during all the fighting and when the retreat was ordered, we started back together. It was then that I saw Joe not more than 20 feet ahead of me and a little to the left. He and another man were carrying their wounded lieutenant to the hospital. I lost sight of him for a moment and then hearing my name called, I turned and saw Joe where he had fallen from the shock received. I ran to him and immediately saw that he was paralyzed, that is, all but his right arm and his head, which he seemed to be able to move. My brother and I having separated in the fight, I and two other men carried Joe to the field hospital where we left him for medical aid and where he afterwards died.” Private Joseph D. Nowacki of the 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, died at the age of 24 years on October 16th, 1918, and is buried in Plot A Row 6 Grave 28 at the St. Mihiel American Cemetery in Thiaucourt, France. Another of America’s youth had fallen in the defense of Freedom. We are a blessed Nation, and a blessed community to have had such exemplary men in our mist. Our future lives on because of those who selflessly give of themselves, then and now. The really sad part is that World War I ended on November 11, 1918 less than a month after Joe Nowacki of Mackay, Idaho died serving in France.

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