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104th Fighter Wing original member turns 100 years old

The 104th Fighter Wing threw a suprise birthday for retired Col. Edwin J. Malikowski on November 25, 2019. Malikowski turns 100 years old on November 29, 2019 and spent 39 years in service  through the Army and Air National Guard. 104th Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Pete Green awarded Malikowski with a commanders coin as an appreciation for his accomplishments and dedication. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman Camille Lienau)

The 104th Fighter Wing threw a suprise birthday for retired Col. Edwin J. Malikowski on November 25, 2019. Malikowski turns 100 years old on November 29, 2019 and spent 39 years in service through the Army and Air National Guard. 104th Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Pete Green awarded Malikowski with a commanders coin as an appreciation for his accomplishments and dedication. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman Camille Lienau)

The 104th Fighter Wing threw a suprise birthday for retired Col. Edwin J. Malikowski on November 25, 2019. Malikowski turns 100 years old on November 29, 2019 and spent 39 years in service  through the Army and Air National Guard. His combat record includes service in Northern France, Ardennes- Alsace, Germany and Central Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman Camille Lienau)

The 104th Fighter Wing threw a suprise birthday for retired Col. Edwin J. Malikowski on November 25, 2019. Malikowski turns 100 years old on November 29, 2019 and spent 39 years in service through the Army and Air National Guard. His combat record includes service in Northern France, Ardennes- Alsace, Germany and Central Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Airman Camille Lienau)

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts- --

The 104th Fighter Wing celebrated Col. Malikowski’s 100th birthday on November 25, 2019 in the main hangar. The celebration was a surprise as his birthday is on November 29. In attendance were Malikowski’s family, retired Lt. Col. Ron Jackson, legislative aide Michelle Moriarty representing Senator Don Humason and Chiara McNalley representing representative John C. Velis.

"I’m honored to have the privilege today to host Colonel Edwin J. Malikowski,” said Col. Peter T. Green, 104th Fighter Wing Commander. “And celebrate his upcoming 100th birthday.”

Col. Malikowski is active and works at the family business Mal Brothers Auto Body in Chicopee, Massachusetts with his son Edwin J. Malikowski Jr.  

“My dad is the type of person where anything his family wanted, he would do,” said Edwin Malikowski Jr. “He loves his family as much as he loves this country. If this country were to ask him in all these years of service to do something it would be instantaneous for him.”

In January 1941, Malikowski was called to active duty and served in World War II as a platoon sergeant.  In February of 1945 he was given a rare honor of a battlefield commission to second lieutenant and then two months later was awarded a battlefield promotion to first lieutenant. 

His combat record includes service in Northern France, Ardennes- Alsace, Germany and Central Europe.  Additionally Malikowski served in the notorious Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive on the Western Front during WWII.  Colonel Malikowski received 2 bronze stars for his efforts, the first for meritorious service and the second for valor. 

After WWII, Malikowski served as a maintenance officer in the Army Reserve until April 23, 1952 when he was appointed as the motor vehicle maintenance officer in the 104th Fighter Group.  During the Berlin Crisis call up, he served as the commander of the 104th Transportation Squadron in Phalsbourg France. 

In August 1962, he became the aircraft maintenance officer in the 104th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and later the commander. In June 1970, Malikowski was appointed the fulltime chief of maintenance on the Air Technical Detachment.

“I was ordered by the pentagon to travel to Vietnam,'' said Col. Malikowski. “And send out 78 F-100s from the United States on a routine basis.” 

He was awarded the Massachusetts Medal of Merit on October 16, 1977. After 39 years of faithful service, he retired at the rank of colonel.

“Pay attention to detail, remembering the details will set you forward in all aspects of life,” said Col. Malikowski. “Work life, personal life; you can accomplish anything if you focus on the small steps.”