SLUPSK, Poland (NNS) -- Naval Support Facility (NSF) Redzikowo and the Polish Force Protection Battalion (FPB) of the Base in Redzikowo honor two American soldiers from World War II who are buried in Sluspk, Poland.
Sgt. James Buffenmeyer and Pvt. Carl Rovinsky served in the United States Army and were killed in World War II after being taken as Prisoners of War (POWs).
"It's an honor to be here today to recognize the bravery, strength, and heroism of these two American soldiers," said Cmdr. John Brown, executive officer of NSF Redzikowo. "It is a great reminder to be thankful for the freedom we have in our country, something that we have only because of the many sacrifices that have been made."
Sgt. Buffenmeyer, of Missouri, served in the 6th Armoured Army in the 1st Armoured Division. He was taken as a POW in Tunisia and sent to a POW camp in Czarne, Pomerania, Poland. He died on December 2, 1943, at 21 years old.
Pvt. Rovinsky, of Pennsylvania, served in the 157th Infantry Regiment in the 45th Infantry Division. He was taken as a POW in Italy and sent to a POW camp in Czarne, Pomerania, Poland. He died on March 11, 1943, about two months shy of his 20th birthday.
"Being involved in events like this is just a small way we can show our thanks and our gratitude to those that have come before us," said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Elizabeth Schoeberlein. "They gave their lives for the freedoms and liberties that we have today and I think it's really important to honor that."
Twenty sailors from NSF Redzikowo and 20 soldiers from the Polish FPB lined up together in front of the tomb stones for the ceremony.
Cmdr. Brown commenced the ceremony by sharing the opening remarks and the chaplain followed by saying a prayer.
"It is important to memorialize the lives of these young men who were separated from their comrades, isolated with POWs from other countries," said Cmdr. Timothy Gault, command chaplain of Naval Support Activity Naples. "They went to Europe and Africa to defend our way of life and we acknowledge the value of their lives and what their sacrifice means for us today."
Two NSF Redzikowo sailors, Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Schoeberlein and Master-at-Arms Seaman Bryanna Rodriguez, spoke about the fallen soldiers and the history of the POW camps that they were held prisoners in.
To end the ceremony, Cmdr. Brown and Maj. Mariusz Warta, executive officer of the Polish FPB, laid a wreath on the fallen soldiers' graves.
"We are proud to stand alongside the Polish Army to honor two men who stood for freedom, no matter what the cost, and stood strong until the end," said Cmdr. Brown. "They are true heroes."
NSF Redzikowo's operations enable the responsiveness of U.S. and allied forces in support of Navy Region Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia's (NAVEURAFSWA) mission to provide services to the fleet, fighter and family. NAVEURAFSWA executes the eight lines of operations ashore to support the United States and allied forces operating in the Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia area of responsibility.
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