Local man to get Congressional Gold Medal for service in WWII

Local man to get Congressional Gold Medal for service in WWII

NEW BERN - A New Bern man will soon receive the Congressional Gold Medal for his service in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II.

C.A. "Kaz" Barcynski joined the CAP in 1944 at 16 years old. He lied on his recruiter and joined a year before he was supposed to. During that time, 17-year-olds could join CAP as a cadet. Some cadets later joined the Air Force.

"I think one of my motivations is that I had an uncle that was a B-29 pilot," Barcynski said. "Unfortunately he was killed over Yokohama in May of 45'."

Barcynski had grown up with his uncle, who was only eight years older. After his uncle's death, he made it his mission to join the Air Corps, which he eventually did.

On Monday, May 19, Congress approved a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the remaining CAP service members.

The Civil Air Patrol served the U.S. Air Force on the home front, flying humanitarian missions, defending the coast and being the back up for troops overseas. Thousands of volunteers served in the Air Patrol during WWII.

"At first they were only going to put the officers on the eligible list." said Barcynski. "We fought that and then they added the Cadets. Because we were a part of the CAP cadets."

Barcynski said it could be a couple of months before he gets the medal. The bill still needs to be signed by the president.

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