Edward A. Koslowski, Jr. was born on June 16, 1946 to Edward Sr. and Cheslava Koslowski. He died on August 26, 2020 of natural causes at the age of 74.
He is survived by his son Lee Koz, a daughter Lindsay McGowan, his former wife, Merrilee Neale and his brother Bill Koslowski. He was a beloved grandfather with six beautiful grandchildren at the time of his passing.
Edward was a decorated combat pilot, having flown Huey helicopters for the Army in the Vietnam war. He was renowned for his prowess and skill in the cockpit. He was shot down three times during the war. Each time, he was able to safely crash land the aircraft without any loss of life.
One of his crash landings was behind enemy lines in March 1969. An enemy .50cal round took out his tail rotor, causing the helicopter to pinwheel out of control. Edward had to shut off the main rotor and use auto-rotation to make the landing. Edward successfully landed the Huey under fire, without injuring any of his crew. They detached their own .50cal machine guns and fought their way back towards their base. An entire NVA brigade was encircling them, trying to cut off the escape path. They became pinned down under heavy fire.
One of Edward’s friends was flying a Cobra assault chopper and ignored orders to retreat, providing cover for the stranded crew. This pushed back the NVA flank and stalled their advance. With the help of the air support, Edward and his crew escaped encirclement and made it back across into friendly territory.
Edward transferred out of the Army and into the Air Force after the war. Flying planes was his life long dream. He watched seagulls as a child. They seemed so free. All he wanted was to be free like they were, floating so effortlessly on the air.
He started out Flying C-130 tankers, refueling fighter jets and long range aircraft. His skill was noted by his superiors. His steady hand when refueling demonstrated his superb flight skills. His obsessive attention to detail meant that each mission was completed as planned and on time.
Edward was eventually promoted to Major and given the coveted position of Aircraft commander of an AWACS Reconnaissance plane. This was the most expensive plane in the US Air Force at the time and contained top secret radar and spy equipment. AWACS were so important to US war strategy at the time that the government considered an attack on an AWACS as the same as they did an attack on a US territory.
Edward’s mission records during his AWACS deployment are classified. However, he was often gone months at a time on missions. It was a tremendous sacrifice for both him and his family, made more complicated by the fact he could not discuss his missions, or even what part of the world he had flown to.
Edward retired from the military after 20 years of decorated service to the United States of America. His military background remained the core of his identity thereafter and he maintained strong ties with other retired military pilots.
Edward became a commercial airline pilot after his military retirement. He started out flying small private jets for a company called Schrivner. He was eventually hired by American Trans Air (ATA), a private charter company. There he flew the Largest passenger plane in the world at the time, the huge 3 story L-1011.
Edward was very active in his community, enjoying outings and events with his friends at the Sandra Lane adult community. He attended the Vietnam helicopter reunion every year, sporting one of the most obnoxious mustaches imaginable. He was a member of the SeeBees. He was also a much beloved member of the Quiet Birdmen (QB’s).
Edward was a loving and gentle person who enjoyed nature and had a passion for travel. He traveled the whole world, visiting nearly every country and six continents. He was planning to visit his last continent, Antarctica, when his failing health cancelled the trip. He often bragged about the excellence of his skill in procrastination and prided himself in the variety of Hawaiian shirts he owned.
Edward was a much loved father and grandfather. His grandsons share his love of model building and attention to detail. His grandddaughters have his love of nature. He was a father who always provided an excellent lifestyle and came through when his family needed him most.
Most importantly, Edward was a devout Christian. He knew that loving God and keeping his commands was all that mattered. His strong faith gave him both peace and courage in his latter years. He died without fear, certain that he had peace with God through the blood of Jesus. His family misses him and looks forward to our great reunion in glory.
Edward will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia with military honors at a future date. There is a wait time for burial at Arlington of approximately 9-12 months. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to his son's Pro-Life Center at: www.choicespregnancypartners.org. This will allow us all to honor and celebrate Ed's life by saving others.
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