Job - Coxswain V6. A Naval Coxswain is a Naval member who sits in the stern facing the bow, steers the ship and coordinates the power of the naval vessel.
Duty Stations - USNTS Newport, Rhode Island; AATB Arzew, Algeria; AATB, Bizerte, Tunisia; NSNTC, Miami; NTS, NOB, Norva; USS Burdo ADP-133
Awards and Citations - Victory Medal, American Campaign, European African ME Middle East, Asiatic Pacific Campaign
Frank Joseph Mackowiak, U.S. Navy
Married - Oct. 19, 1946 to Jane (Kubasik) Mackowiak
Children - David, Edward (Butch) and Larry
Grandchildren - Erick, Kelly, Keith, Bethany, Mark, Ryan and Michael.
Great-grandchildren - Jack and Eaton
Frank never did get to see Jack and Eaton.
The USS Burdo ADP-133 was a crosley class high speed transport of the U.S. Navy named after Pvt. Ronald A. Burdo who was a Marine killed at the Battle of Guadalcanal. Originally designed a rudder row class destroyer escort DE 717, Burdo was redesignated as ADP-133 a fast transport, on July 17, 1944, even before being laid down at the Defore Shipping Co. in Bay City, Mich.
She was launched on Nov. 25, 1944, sponsored by Mrs. Ida J. Botts, mother of a U.S. Marine Ronald A. Burdo, the Marine killed at Gaudalcanal. Builder trials before her precommissioning cruise were done on Lake Huron. Burdo joined our Naval fleet in Aug. 1945 and was assigned to serve with the Pacific Underwater Demolition Flotilla. With underwater demolition team 1 (UDT 13) embarked, she sailed for Pearl Harbor on Aug. 16, 1945, where she was assigned to an amphibious group on Sept. 1.
She departed for Sasebo, Japan, at Sasebo, UDT 13 assisted in clearing channels prior to landing the occupational forces on Sept. 21, 1945. The USS Missouri used these safe water routes for Japan's final surrender.
With the war over and the Navy eliminating all ships that were not essential to maintain world peace the Burdo was spared. The Navy felt that this ship was ideal for training and she was now being used for mock landing exercises. She was capable of carrying 162 Marines and with her age and speed troops would be able to train for any new future war scenarios.
Burdo was decommissioned on Feb. 28, 1958, at Charleston, S.C. and was laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Naval register on April 1, 1966 and was sold for scrapping on March 30, 1967 to Southern Scrap Material Co. of New Orleans.
Frank Joseph Mackowiak was born on Jan. 3, 1925 in Dunkirk. He was the son of Frank J. and Martha (Paprocki) Mackowiak of Lake Shore Drive. Frank attended St. Hyacinth's grade school, completing the eight grade school years. He then chose the industrial 10 trade high school. Frank excelled in basketball and loved the high school weight lifting program. The only jobs available in the area while under 18 were paperboy routes and farm work mostly in the Portland and Westfield areas.
After the service, Frank came back to Dunkirk and landed his first job with George Bentges Brewery selling beer products to area clubs, bars and restaurants. Frank also was employed as a bartender at the Moniuszko Social Club. After bartending, Frank got back into the beer business and received a job as a salesman for Jamestown Beverage Co. In 1996 Frank opened his own business, Frank Sales on Lake Shore Drive.
At 62, Frank decided to retire and moved to Largo, Fla. Arriving at his Florida home on Semonole Blvd. in Largo, Frank ran into a few local Dunkirk people all living within blocks. The group included the Catalanos, Lawsons, Truzenskis, Ferrys and Andins, who would all spend the winter months in sunny Florida. They would talk about the Dunkirk years of the past, always keeping each other informed on the latest Dunkirk news.
Frank was active in our area belonging to the Holy Name Society, Moniuszko Social Club and the Dunkirk Bowling Association. Bowling was a special sport and Frank carried a 200 average. Frank also enjoying hunting and fishing.
Frank loved the Elks Club being an active member and giving the Elks the majority of his free time. Frank earned the titles of Executive Ruler State of N.Y., Elks vice president, district deputy. In his years being active Frank started the annual local Elks Golf Tournament for cerebral palsy. People would always see Frank every Memorial Day Parade carrying the large Elks flag.
Frank was entered in the World War II registry on May 18, 2004, in recognition of his great effort and sacrifice that he made in World War II. This honor was made by close friend Clemens S. Worosz. This long overdue tribute will forever remind future generations that through the courage of so many of our country's men and women, freedom will remain ours!
Every Memorial Day at 8 a.m. a Veterans Memorial Mass is held at St. Hyacinths Cemetery. At this outside service area residents come to the cemetery to honor the perished and fallen veterans. Every year Frank would attend religiously, as he got older his son Butch would join him.
Butch recalls that each year at the service Frank would always have tears in his eyes. Butch had discussed this with his mother thinking that dad had shed tears for all the veterans. His mother replied that although Frank had tears for his fallen servicemen that in this case it wasn't the entire story. The reason for these tears was that Frank had shed tears for his best friend, Stanley Polasik who had been killed in the war. Butch recalls after the service Frank would go up to Stanley Polasik's grave and just cry. These two men as boys were friends to the end. A friendship that would last till the end, for these two great heroes.
War changes so many lives, it alters that way people think and do things. So many friends that parted at the train and bus stations didn't know that would be the very last time you would ever see them again. Life went on for Frank. I know by this interview that Frank thought of Stanley Polasik at least once every day since his death. This was not your normal friendship. This was a friendship that lived when one had died.
So many veterans with so many stories. It's so sad for our World War II veterans. They didn't have the internet to find and keep in touch with old friends and see how they were doing. For Frank all he knew for sure was his best friend was gone and his ship was also no longer here. It was scrapped. What good war memories could Frank Mackowiak have had after the war? Veterans like Frank Mackowiak that paid the price for freedom back in the mid 1940s, that we are enjoying today. For that makes Frank Mackowiak our local hero.