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Stanley F. Czarniak, 95, World War II hero

April 22, 1921 - July 8, 2016

Stanley F. Czarniak, an Army veteran of World War II who fought in pivotal European Theater battles, died Tuesday in Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Buffalo, after a brief illness. He was 95.

Born and raised in Cheektowaga, Mr. Czarniak joined the Army in February 1940, and was sent to West Point, where he served in the Quartermaster Corps as a truck driver. After Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for the Airborne Division, and later became a charter member of the 101st Airborne Division.

Mr. Czarniak was dropped behind the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 with the 82nd Airborne Division, where he was in charge of a platoon of 40 men. In Normandy, he was shot by a German machine gunner in the kidney, and received a shrapnel wound to his face.

Healed from his wounds enough to return to combat, Mr. Czarniak made the jump into Holland a month later in September 1944. He went on to fight at the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, fighting on the ground until his unit reached Germany and victory was won in May 1945.

He was recalled by the Army in 1951 to help train troops for the Korean War, serving stateside until 1952.

Mr. Czarniak received more than 20 awards for his service, including a Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars and two Presidential Unit Citations. He also received a battlefield commission, with a rank of 2nd lieutenant.

Mr. Czarniak worked for Dunlop Tires as a tire trimmer for 30 years, retiring in the early 1970s. In his retirement, he enjoyed hunting and fishing, and was a member of Pvt. Leonard Post Jr. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6251. He also spoke at area schools about his experiences in the Army.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, the former Lottie D. Pawlik; a daughter, Joan Hutchins; a son, Gary T.; three grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

Services are private.

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