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First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Cieslak

Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: J.

Date of Birth: 08 February 1936

Date of Death: 18 November 1955

Rank: Corporal

Years Served:
Joseph J. Cieslak

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Joseph J. Cieslak
Corporal, U. S. Army

Joseph J. Cieslak was born on 8 February 1936 to Joseph and Mary Cieslak of Philadelphia, PA. He had one sister, Jane.

Military Service

On 17 November 1955, Joseph and a group of fellow soldiers flew to Seattle on leave. They were on a chartered Douglas DC-4 from Peninsula Air Transport. The plane was scheduled to make one stop before it arrived in Newark, NJ. It left Boeing Field in Seattle just after midnight.

During the takeoff, witnesses stated that one of the four engines appeared to falter before the airplane lost altitude, hit a tree and a power pole, and crashed in a residential area near the intersection of S. 120th St. and Des Moines Avenue in Riverton, WA. No one on the ground was injured but 28 people on the plane, including Joseph Cieslak, were killed.

[Note: According to HistoryLink.org, "Peninsula Air Transport had had its license to operate suspended for a time the previous summer and at the time of the crash, was the subject of hearings by the Civil Aeronautics Board for overloading airplanes and overworking pilots."] 

Death and Burial

Joseph J. Cieslak was killed in a plane crash early in the morning on 18 November 1955. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Delaware County, PA, in Section 24, Row 8, Plot 40.

Honoree ID: 2116   Created by: MHOH




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