HOWARD, Wis. (WFRV) Ed Koslowski was born and raised in Green Bay. He was just 17 years old when he joined the Wisconsin National Guard in 1976.
“Well, I was looking to see what I could do after I graduated high school, and I was going to join the marines but my brother Rick was already in the guard,” Koslowski said. “So I thought, ‘I’ll join the guards and see what happens after that.’”
After that, Koslowski moved up pretty quickly in the ranks of the communications division. He worked his way up to a role as Company Communication Chief, and later Battalion Communication Chief.
“I always liked the idea of electronics and stuff like that,” said Koslowski, as to why he chose communications as his specialty. “When I (joined) they needed a field wireman, so that’s what I went down for, installing switch boards, laying lines and stuff like that,” he said.
Koslowski is considered a peacetime veteran, but he did spend time overseas.
In 1986, he and the 32nd Separate Infantry Brigade went to Germany for operation Reforger, which stood for Return Our Forces to Germany.
Later on in 1990, he spent time in Korea with the 57th Field Artillery for operation Team Spirit.
There, Koslowski helped out with secure voice equipment.
Koslowski spent more than 20 years serving with four of those in uniform. While he was never deployed, he said that’s just the way it went.
“I do get some people complaining, ‘Oh, you’re only a National Guard part time.’ Well, I had over four years in uniform, and I gave Uncle Sam over 20 years to ship my butt some place, but he never did.”
To those people, Koslowski has a familiar saying; “Wasn’t there, but still care,’ and I think that’s what everybody that was in uniform should still care about, each other, and help them out,” said Koslowski.
Koslowski retired as a Battalion Operations Sergeant with the rank of E-8 Master Sergeant after more than two decades of service, and now he spends most of his time giving back.
“I was always volunteering for veterans stuff and that, so it’s just like I took off the military uniform and helped out with a civilian uniform,” he said.
Koslowski helped revitalize American Veterans Post 57 in Green Bay, where he has been the Post Commander for the last decade, regularly organizing fundraisers and outreach to help veterans get connected to resources available in their communities. One such event is a Meet and Greet at the Brown County Fair, where vets come together to meet each other and connect with local services and programs.
He collects memorabilia from other veterans too, which he plans to use in a display honoring Veterans in November, at Associated Bank locations in Howard and Green Bay, depending on COVID-19 restrictions.
Most of all Koslowski wants other local veterans to know there’s always a helping hand at the ready, for him it’s just part of the drill.
“It’s because I care, and I don’t know where that mentality came into it, but I was always like that,” he said. “So, if you can help out, you help out and that’s just the way life should be.”
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