JOSEPH J POLONKO

JOSEPH J POLONKO - CAPT

  • HOMETOWN:
  • pluckemin
  • COUNTY:
  • Somerset
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • July 24, 1939
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • April 29, 1966
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • CAPT
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


Joseph J. Polonko, Jr. was born on July 24, 1939, to Joseph and Julia Polonko. He had two sisters, Joyce and Julia. He graduated from Somerville High School in 1957. He attended the Coast Guard Academy in 1958 and 1959, but transferred to Rutgers University to graduate in 1961. He enjoyed the sport of baseball.

Joseph volunteered to serve in the US Army from Pluckemin, NJ and attained the rank of Captain (CAPT). After serving one tour of duty, he volunteered for another tour in Vietnam. He served as a subsector advisor of an Artillery team in Kien Hoa. Prior to that, he saw two years' service in Germany.

While in Vietnam, Polonko had become interested in the plight of the small children in the Kien Hoa area. He raised money to buy clothing for the children who were located at the outposts. These posts were harassed nightly by the Vietcong.

Polonko was killed in action on April 29, 1966, when an Army vehicle in which he was riding struck a land mine. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

There is a memorial at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, dedicated to the graduates who were killed or missing in action from the Vietnam War. Polonko's name is listed among those killed in action.

My brother, Joey, was a shy, wonderful, caring, sensitive intelligent man who VOLUNTEERED to go to Vietnam. He cared about people and especially loved children. Joey wanted to help people less fortunate than him. He served his tour, then EXTENDED. His father tried to discourage him from going to Vietnam, but he went because that's who he was.

He never married because he didn't think it was fair to a wife if he didn't return. He died much too soon.

Written by Julia Dimmock, Sister

Sources: Julia Dimmock (sister) and NJVVMF.

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