Written by Bob Hogan Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:17Arthur George, commander of the American Legion Post 509 in Port Washington has designated Ed Sautkulis to serve as co-grand marshal of this year’s Memorial Day parade scheduled for Monday, May 25. Ed Sautkulis was born in Center Island, Long Island and attended primary schools in Oyster Bay. Ed came to Port in 1946 and has been a resident for the past 63 years.
Ed joined the United States Army Air Force in 1943 and was assigned to the 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group. After basic training in Miami Beach, Florida he received his first assignment as an airplane engine mechanic and was shipped to Calcutta, India, where he was posted for eight months. From India he was reassigned to the Pacific island of Tinian, where he remained until the end of World War II. The airbase on Tinian Island was to be the step off point for the historic flights bringing the war and the atomic bombs to the Japanese homeland.
It is a well-known fact that the plane to drop the first atomic bomb targeted for Hiroshima was named the Enola Gay after the mother of the pilot, Brigadier General Paul W. Tibbets. The second atomic mission to take off from the Tinian airbase destined for Nagasaki was the Boxcar named after the pilot’s wife whose maiden name was Bocks. At that time the United States military possessed only two functional atomic bombs, which were ready to be delivered. If and when a third atomic bomb was available, the delivery aircraft would be the Draggin’ Lady, the B-29 super fortress to which Ed Sautkulis served as an aircraft engineer and was part of the team keeping the aircraft serviceable. After the atomic bombings of August 6 and 9, Ed learned of the Japanese surrender on August 15 over Guam radio. He was honorably discharged on November 1945 and returned to Oyster Bay.
In November 1946, Ed married his wife, Genevieve and settled on Orchard Street in Port. Sensing the coming importance of television, he decided to attend the Delahanty Institute on 14th St. in Manhattan, where he trained in television repair. Shortly thereafter, he went to work for Grumman Aircraft on Long Island as electronics technician. This occupation gave a great sense of satisfaction and his travels took him around the world. He finished his career after 35 years with Grumman and continued his activity in Port Washington civic affairs.
Ed is an active member of the Port Washington Knights of Columbus and has been a member for over 55 years. The council recognized his service by hosting a grand party several years ago to celebrate Ed’s 50th anniversary as a member. He is also a member for over 50 years in the Polish-American Club of Port Washington. He served as director for 12 years and supervised the expansion of its building on Pulaski Place in Port. He played softball in the Port Washington Softball League Post 509 and twice won the batting championship, batting .431 in 1948 and .389 in 1951.
Ed and his wife Genevieve have three children all of whom were raised in Port schools. His son John, affectionately known as ‘Yash,’ is a popular figure at the Sportsmen’s Club of Manhasset Bay, where he generously gives of his time as chief cook. His other son is a construction manager and his daughter works for American Airlines.
Arthur George of the American Legion advises Port residents that the Memorial Day parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., Monday, May 25. The parade will begin on Port Washington Boulevard, proceed west on Main St. and conclude at Sunset Park adjacent to the town dock. Port’s Chamber of Commerce will distribute free American flags to spectators before the beginning of the parade. Memorial Day ceremonies will take place at the Sousa Band Shell in Sunset Park after the conclusion of the parade.