Alexander J. Muszynski Jr.

  • Second Lieutenant
  • WW II


Alexander “Al” Joseph Muszynski Jr. was born in Clinton, Massachusetts on 31 July 1920. He was the son of Alexander and Lucy Muszynski. The family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, in 1930 where Al graduated from Central High School in 1937. He was a member of the school band. He entered Rhode Island State College in September 1937 with the Class of 1941 majoring in Engineering. He participated in the Army ROTC program and played cornet in the RISC Band. He was a member of the Rhode Island National Guard while a student at RISC and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces Cadet Aviation Program on 19 May 1942.

Private Alexander J. Muszynski Jr. graduated from the ten-week U.S. Army Air Forces preflight training program, a combination of enlisted basic training and officer candidate school. He was assigned as a cadet at the Flying/Aviation Cadet Training Program, U.S. Army Air Forces Training Center, Maxwell Field, Alabama. Upon completion of flight school, he was awarded his pilot’s wings and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and assigned to the 451st Bombardment Group, Freedom Field, Seymour, Indiana.

The 451th Bombardment Group (Heavy) deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in January 1944 where it became part of the 15th Air Force stationed at Castellucio Airfield, Southern Italy. The 451st engaged in long-range strategic bombing missions to enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Romania and Yugoslavia. The 451st successfully attacked such targets as oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, bridges and airfields.

On 17 April 1944, Lt Muszynski was co-piloting “Naughty but Nice” a B24 Liberator back from a bombing run when his plane was shot down over Mostar, Yugoslavia. An eyewitness to the crash 2Lt. Patrick J. Collins stated: “We were exceptionally low for the type of flack we encountered, and a burst of flack made a direct hit on the tail of the ‘Naughty but Nice.’ Shortly afterward, the ship received another direct hit in the bomb bay door. The ship went out of control and into a spin and crashed. Afterward, three parachutes were seen to open.” The entire crew perished in the crash or were captured by the Germans.

2Lt. Muszynski was listed as Missing in Action for over a year, until the family received a letter from General Hap Arnold in August 1945 which confirmed their worst fears that 2Lt. Muszynski had died in the crash. In April 1950, the remains of the crew of “Naughty but Nice” were recovered. Second Lieutenant Alexander Joseph Muszynski Jr.’s remains along with two other crewmembers, who could not be identified, were buried together in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri, with full military honors. A memorial marker for 2Lt. Muszynski was also installed in the Wethersfield, CT, cemetery where his mother, Lucy and sister, Cecelia are buried.

For his actions, Second Lieutenant Alexander Joseph Muszynski Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces, was cited for Gallantry in Action and Bravery and awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart (Posthumously). Lieutenant Muszynski’s courage and devotion to duty contributed to the success of our forces in defeating the Germans and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army Air Forces. He was a son of Rhode Island State College who answered the call to service during World War II and gave his life in service to the State of Rhode Island and our country. He was another member of the “Greatest Generation.”