BY EDWARD COLIMORE, Inquirer Staff Writer --
Maybe he should have gotten a medal for patience.
After waiting seven decades, World War II veteran Leonard Brotzky was honored Thursday with a Purple Heart for wounds he received during the Battle of the Bulge.
"After 70 years, I'm finally getting it," said Brotzky, 89, of Manchester Township, Ocean County, at a presentation ceremony at the district office of U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.). "I felt I earned it."
The medal should have been awarded in 1944 but was apparently overlooked because of a record-keeping foul-up. It was corrected through efforts begun by Smith more than a decade ago.
At Brotzky's side was his wife, Rose, who was also honored for her trailblazing service as a Marine radio operator in Hawaii during the war. She was presented by Smith with a flag that flew over the Capitol.
"I was waiting for this [the flag] when I passed on," said a smiling Rose Brotzky, 92, who met her husband after the war at a veterans' gathering. "It's just an honor to be here. I'm so proud of my husband."
During a brief ceremony, Smith praised the couple's contributions in and out of uniform.
"We honor today two extraordinary Americans - Lenny and Rose Brotzky - for their courageous service to our nation during World War II," he said. "The Brotzkys are the quintessential example of the 'greatest generation' - patriotic, generous, brave, and selfless.
"They not only saved America and the world from tyranny, but they built and sustained America and American values," he said.
Smith began trying to obtain the medal in 2003 but was asked by the Army to produce more evidence of the wounds. Records surfaced recently and Smith petitioned the National Personnel Record Center, which approved the medal and sent it to Smith on Oct. 2.
"The French honored him with the French Legion of Honor, but the U.S. government is a little bit later than the French," Smith said.
On Thursday, the congressman handed the Purple Heart to Brotzky.
"He definitely deserved it and should have had it long before," Rose Brotzky said.
Leonard Brotzky's division had been "part of the Allied forces that chased the Germans out of Italy and France, and back to Germany and ultimate defeat," said Smith, whose father fought in New Guinea during World War II.
"He was injured in the heat of battle and is fully deserving of this Purple Heart," he said. "I just wish it wasn't 70 years late."
A native of Orange, Brotzky enlisted in the Army in 1943 and underwent basic training at Fort Dix.
In the winter of 1944, he was serving in the 36th Division, 155th Field Artillery Unit, and riding in a Jeep during the Battle of the Bulge when enemy shells rained down around him.
Jumping from the vehicle, Brotzky was struck in a hand and arm by shrapnel, and treated at a field hospital. He also suffered frostbite on his feet because of the extreme cold during the battle.
"It was cold," he said. "We were fighting and doing the best we could."
Brotzky was honorably discharged in 1945 at Fort Monmouth. At the time, he didn't know Rose Katz of Bloomfield, Essex County.
She had signed up with the Marine Corps Women's Reserve in 1943, learned a new skill as a radio operator, and was sent to Hawaii.
"I was 20 when I enlisted," she said. "When we did have the time, we went to the beach . . . but I'd rather be at a Jersey Shore beach than Hawaii."
Rose Brotzky served at the Marine station at Ewa for eight months and returned to the continental United States in October 1945. She was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant.
"Tears fell from my eyes as we approached the Golden Gate Bridge," she wrote in her recollections of that time. "There was a boat escorting us with a band playing 'Sentimental Journey.' "
After the war, Rose Brotzky worked at the Bloomfield Independent Press and West Essex Tribune while Leonard Brotzky graduated from Cornell University with a premed degree and Rutgers University with a hospital administration degree. A pharmaceutical sales representative, he married Rose and they settled in Livingston, where they raised two children.
"These are two extraordinary Americans," Smith said. "This is the ultimate power couple, people who believed in America and did so much to save America."Originally published at:
Leonard Brotsky, 89, was injured by shrapnel and suffered frostbite while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. However, his Army discharge papers left out his injuries.
Now, with the help of Rep. Chris Smith, Brotsky has finally been presented with the Purple Heart Award.
READ MORE: New Jersey Top Stories
The congressman's office has been working on getting the award for Brotsky since 2003, but the Army kept asking for more evidence.
Brotsky's 92-year-old wife Rose was also honored for her service with the United States Marines. She was a radio operator at Pearl Harbor.
Originally published at: http://newjersey.news12.com/news/world-war-ii-couple-awarded-military-medals-1.9513049
Smith noted that in 2000, he wrote a law, The Admiral James W. Nance and Meg Donovan Foreign Relations Authorization Act for fiscal years 2000 and 2001, which bars foreign nationals complicit with forced sterilizations and forced abortions from obtaining U.S. visas.
“Section 801 of Title VIII of that Act requires the Secretary of State not to issue any visa to, and the Attorney General not to admit to the United States, any foreign national whom the Secretary finds, based on credible and specific information, to have been directly involved in the establishment or enforcement of forced abortion or forced sterilization,” Smith said. “Owing to a glaring lack of implementation only a handful of abusers have been denied visas to the United States.”Smith also noted China is ground zero in Asia for human trafficking, a main point of the CECC’s 2014 report on human rights in China released today.
There is no set U.S. protocol currently to require questioning of travelers from the affected areas about whether they have come in contact with anyone infected with Ebola. The practice at this point is to detain only those travelers who are visibly ill. Smith called for required taking of temperature and stricter questioning of travelers from affected countries. Visibly sick travelers suspected of Ebola already are tested for the presence of Ebola antibodies and are held until the test is completed. Those who test positive are isolated until they can be transported safely for medical treatment. There are now only 20 airports in the United States where strict quarantine is possible, including Newark Liberty International Airport.
Smith’s subcommittee has held two hearings on the West African Ebola outbreak: one on August 7 and another on September 17. As a result of these hearings, as well as numerous other briefings and discussions on the matter, Smith is working on Ebola legislation to ensure a strong U.S. response beyond the expiration of the current funding mandate in mid-December.
Rep. Chris Smith is calling for a protocol to be put in place. He sits on the Global Health committee and gets regular briefings from the CDC.
Smith says New Jersey faces unique risks with a major international airport and seaports. "The next flight that comes here could carry a risk of contamination," he says. (Click here or on image below to watch video)
The congressman suggests that the state begin screening at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Over the summer, the U.S. grounded flights to Israel over terrorism fears, and Smith says that should be considered for flights to West Africa.
A spokesperson for the UN secretary general doesn't agree with limiting flights to West Africa. He says the countries should not be isolated, especially from aid workers.
The CDC has faced criticism for its handling of America's first Ebola patient. Smith believes the agency's efforts overseas could stop the spread, but more is needed. "Frankly, our government needs to step up and make sure we leave no stone unturned on breaking the transmission chain," he says.
Kerry McKean Kelly, with the New Jersey Hospital Association, says the state's hospitals have been watching for Ebola for months. "We would like to reassure the public that their local hospital is prepared," she says.Read More
2373 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 60, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.
Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (31 years), Autism (15 years), Alzheimer’s (13 years), Lyme Disease (nineyears), Spina Bifida (nine years), Human Trafficking (nine years), Refugees (nine years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.
According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2014 Smith ranks fourth among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored.
He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.
Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.
A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.
The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.
Ocean Co. power couple honored for their service during World War I; Leonard Brotzky awarded long-overdue PurpleHeart http://t.co/hlCuBqZ23r
Great evening watching the Steinert Marching Unit perform prior to the Steinert v. Allentown varsity football game http://t.co/G66CByB1T9