On Monday April 26, 2010 the Columbia County Honor-A-Veteran committee honored PFC Fred Oleynek.
Fred Oleynek was born on May 12, 1926 to Joseph and Emmy (Steinert) Oleynek in Essen, Germany. He grew up in New York City where he attended school.
Fred entered the United States Army on August 28, 1944 in the Bronx, New York. Earning the reflemen’s sharpshooter’s badge in Basic Training, he was then trained as a heavy weapons specialist. Private First Class Fred Oleynek was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, Headquarters Company, 15th Infantry in the European Theater of Operations. The 15th Division reached the Rhine River (11/26/44), fought in the Colmar Pocket, broke through the Siegfried Line, captured Nuremburg and remained on garrison duty in Germany until September 1946. Engaged in heavy action in Central Europe and the Rhineland as a heavy weapons crewmember, PFC Oleynek earned the Combat Infantry Badge(CIB). Fred was injured in a jeep accident which required him to wear a body cast for a year. On June 5, 1947 he was Honorably Discharged.
In addition to the Rifle Sharpshooter’s Badge and the CIB, PFC Fred Oleynek was awarded the: Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Ribbon, Victory Ribbon, two Bronze Battle Star, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon.
Fred returned home and attended Chicago University of Aeronautical Engineering. Graduating in 1950 with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering, he married Gloria “Dodi” Florio on February 17, 1952. Together, they raised eight children: Joseph, Jean, Paula, Fred, Marguerite, Stephen, Gloria and Susan. Fred was employed as a private business owner, Air Compressor Plus and as a code enforcement officer for the Town of Austerlitz. He remained active in the community; he was a member of the Ghent VFW and the Spencertown Fire Company.
Fred died on September 29, 2009 in Austerlitz, New York. He was 83 years old. There is no greater duty than devotion and service to others. He honorably served his country and today we recognize and honor him for that service.
Memorials within the Town: Spencertown Town square – GPS coordinates 42.32239N -73.54548W
Photos by Richard E. Lindmark
(Click on any photo for full image)