THE KOSCIUSZKO SQUADRON CONSISTED OF A SMALL GROUP OF AMERICAN VOLUNTEERS - INDEPENDENT OF THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT OR THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES - WHO FOUGHT ALONGSIDE POLAND IN THE RUSSIAN-POLISH WAR.
Who were the men of the Kosciuszko Squadron?
In 1919, Poland was locked in a struggle with Communist Russia, and the Kosciuszko Squadron, named in honor of the great Polish military strategist Tadeusz Kosciuszko, was formed with the help of American volunteers.
It is not a coincidence that the emblem of the Kosciuszko Squadron bears the American Stars and Stripes. The Squadron was formed in 1919 by a group of Americans, led by Merian C. Cooper, who volunteered to fight with the Polish army in the Russian-Polish War.
A generation later, the world was at war again, and the stakes were high. Poland had already succumbed to German and Soviet aggression, and the Kosciuszko Squadron, now all Polish, was sidelined.
Eager to help the Allies gain an aerial advantage, the group agreed to fly and fight under British command. They valiantly defended Great Britain against German aerial assault in the decisive 1940 Battle of Britain, with feats that were truly the stuff of legend.
The New England Air Museum, one of the largest aviation museums in the country, has teamed up with the internationally acclaimed Polish Studies Program at Central Connecticut State University, to create and permanently display a multi-media exhibit paying tribute to the Kosciuszko Squadron. This project, dedicated to heroism and sacrifice, will open in 2021. Poland is America’s most loyal European ally. This exhibit will help us to understand why.
A newly renovated space will house the artifacts, display cases and touchscreen kiosks, each presenting elements of the Squadron’s story in different ways and through different periods of time. Located in a highly trafficked area of the museum, directly between the two primary exhibit hangars, we expect that this exhibit will be viewed by 40,000—45,000 museum visitors annually.Donate
RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding credited the Polish squadrons and their “unsurpassed gallantry,” with changing the fate of the battle.
Exhibit Organizing Committee
M.B.B. Biskupski, Ph.D., CCSU Polish Studies Endowed Chair
Waldemar Kostrzewa, CCSU Polish Studies Advisory Board Chair
Renata Vickrey, CCSU Archivist and Polish Studies Advisory Board Member
Debbie Reed, NEAM Executive Director
Warren Boley, NEAM Board of Directors
Nicholas Hurley, NEAM Curator
Ron Katz, NEAM Development & External Affairs
Stephen Perez, NEAM Board of Directors
Thomas Sargis, NEAM Board of Directors