Avatar for Michael C. Jankowski

One Sunday morning in the late spring or early summer of 1976, I was walking the 08:00 to 08:30 guard. The plaza was empty, the Relief Commander SSG. Kirby and relieved Sentinel had just left minutes before. I was standing at the south end of the mat facing towards north at left shoulder arms and the sun was shining warm in the east. The day looked like it was going to warm and clear. That meant lots of visitors. But not yet it was too early. Suddenly I heard footsteps approaching from my rear, out of my line of sight. It was a woman walking towards me. I knew it was a woman because of the sound of the footsteps. High-heeled shoes tapping on the granite is a very distinct sound. This lady stopped behind me. I could not see her, but I know that she was just several feet away stopped near the chains. In the 70’s the use of chains with 21 stands encircling the mat and the tomb were used as the barrier for visitors. As I finished my twenty-one second count, I stepped off for my short twenty-one step journey to the north end of the mat. This woman, who I never saw, followed just out of my view. I halted and completed my facing movement. She stood behind me again and then she spoke. “Thank You”. She said, sobbing. Then her footsteps faded off to the north, leaving the plaza. I completed that walk, never to see her face. The only trace of her visit was my memory of her emotional voice and one red carnation placed in one of the links of the chain at the north end of the plaza. I always wished I could have responded, but as you know that wasn’t possible. Looking back to that Sunday morning, I guess I did say, “You’re Welcome”. I was standing vigil at the Tomb. I hope it eased her obvious pain to know someone was there and that our fallen comrades were not forgotten.

  • UNITS:
  • 10th Tactical Recon Squadron, Mt Home, AFB, Idaho.
  • 16th Tactical Recon Squadron, Republic of Viet Nam.
  • 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson, AFB, NC.
  • Co. B, 6th Battalion, 1st Infantry. Training. Brigade, Ft. Polk, LA.
  • Co. E, 1st Battalion, 3rd US Infantry. (The Old Guard) Ft. Myer, VA.
  • US Army Tank-Automotive Command,Warren MI.
  • Co. C (Air Borne) 1/60th Infantry. Ft. Richardson, AK.
  • US Army NCO Academy, Ft. Richardson, AK.
  • 172nd Light Inf. Brigade, (S2) Ft. Richardson, AK.
  • Co. D, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry. Regiment, Ft. Benning, GA.
  • Co. B, 1st Battalion, 17th Regiment 6th Infantry Division, Ft. Richardson, AK.
  • HHC, 1st Bde, (S3) 6th Infantry Division, Ft. Richardson, AK.
  • Light Fighter Academy, 6th Infantry Division, Ft. Richardson, AK.
  • CAMPAIGNS:
  • Viet Nam Counteroffensive Phase V
  • Viet Nam Counteroffensive Phase VI
  • TET Counteroffensive 69 Viet Nam Summer-Fall 69
  • Meritorious Service Metal
  • Army Commendation Metal w/2-OLC
  • Air Force Commendation Metal
  • Army Achievement Metal
  • Army Good Conduct 6th award
  • Air Force Good Conduct Metal
  • National Defense Service Metal 2nd award
  • Viet Nam Service Metal w/2-BBS
  • NCO Professional Development Ribbon 3 award
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Overseas Service Ribbon 2nd award
  • Presidential Unit Citation
  • Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Metal
  • Overseas Bars 2
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge
  • Parachutist Badge
  • Expert Rifle Badge
  • Expert Pistol Badge