World War II in Ukraine:

Ukrainian Americans and Ukrainian Canadians in WW II

Andrew Gregorovich

Ukrainian Americans and Ukrainian Canadians in WW II

Many Ukrainian Americans and Ukrainian Canadians served in the Armed Forces of the United States and Canada during World War II. Over 40,000 served in the Canadian military. Ukrainians in North America contributed to the war effort in many ways in addition to fighting on the battle fronts. For example, Stephen Pawluk from Toronto, Canada was one of the electronics technicians who worked on the British development of radar before the war. Ukrainian American William Dzus in 1932 invented a screw fastener that did not become loose under vibration. The Dzus fastener was used on aircraft and military vehicles and greatly helped the war effort. Igor Sikorsky, born in Kiev, Ukraine, of Ukrainian ancestry, became the "Father of the Helicopter" during World War II.

Among the many Ukrainian American soldiers who were heroes and died in the war were Kalakuka and Minue. Lt. Colonel Theodore Kalakuka of Scranton, Pa. was the first Ukrainian graduate of West Point Military Acedemy and was the "Hero of Corregidor" in the war against Japan in the Pacific. Nicholas Minue of Carteret, N.J. was post-humously awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for a brave attack against the Germans in Tunisia, Africa. Both died in the War. Ukrainian Canadian and American women also played a part in the war in the services and at home. Ukrainians served in the British Armed Forces and in the Polish Army as well. Many Ukrainians were in the Polish Army of General W. Anders, fought at Tobruk and helped win the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy on May 18, 1944. Some of them are buried in the "Polish" cemetery at Cassino.

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Copyright © 1995 Andrew Gregorovich

Reprinted from FORUM Ukrainian Review No. 92, Spring 1995

since March 1st 1997