2015 Honored Veterans

Stan Dabrowski

"Thanks for Saving my Life"

New Britain’s Stan Dabrowski, who will turn 91 on September 20, was a medical corpsman with the 28th Marine Regiment on Iwo Jima during February and March of 1945. The trauma, pain, suffering and loss of life that Dabrowski witnessed during those hellish weeks cannot be calculated – but it will always be with him. “It was terrifying,” he says. “The intense fury, deafening noise, concussion and carnage all around us was mind-boggling.” However, in the midst of such loss and tragedy, Dabrowski recalls a tragic-turned-uplifting experience. “The first casualty I treated on Iwo Jima was a soldier hit by multiple machine gun fire. He suffered a massive, sucking chest wound. I did everything humanly possible, closing off the wound and administering morphine. I marked his forehead with an M for morphine and went on with my unit, and I didn’t really know if he would survive.” Months later, Dabrowski learned of the soldier’s fate. “I heard a voice say ‘Where’s Doc Dabrowski?’ I turn and it’s the Marine sergeant I had treated. He gave me a big bear hug and said ‘thanks for saving my life.’” Dabrowski earned multiple medals for his heroism and service, and went on to a successful career as a microbiologist, mostly at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. He played a central role researching the names of Connecticut casualties on Iwo Jima as the former secretary of Iwo Jima Survivors Association. He and his wife Wanda, who passed in 2013, raised two boys. Dabrowski has four grandchildren and resides on Grandview Street in New Britain.

Ray Greene

A Renaissance Man
Ray Greene of New Britain, who passed away on April 22, 2015, was a U.S. Navy aerial gunner and dive bomber who took part in 23 World War II combat missions, including missions over Tokyo, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Ray joined the Navy in 1942, and in 1944 learned that his older brother Wally had been killed over New Britain Island. He was thus inspired to avenge his brother’s death and did so with tremendous skill and bravery, being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice for valor, as well as three air medals and battle stars for his service in the Pacific Theater. Ray was a true renaissance man, leading a distinguished, varied and accomplished life that touched many. The many hats Ray wore included paperboy, war hero, college graduate (CCSU and Wesleyan University), commercial artist, tool-and-die maker, English and art teacher, teacher of the Gaelic language, storyteller extraordinaire, marathon runner (24 marathons and 38 years running in the Manchester Road Race) – and frequent guest and singer of the National Anthem at National Iwo Jima Memorial events and more. Said Ray before he passed, “I’ve had a lot of different careers. I’ve learned about life – and that you do not live forever.” Says his daughter Deirdre, “He was so proud of his service. Losing his brother Wally and being able to avenge his loss was probably what he was most proud of.” Green and his wife, the late Margaret “Mickey” Greene, raised eight children and one “honorary” child, and had 18 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Joe Roman

No Time to be Scared

New Britain native Joe Roman, 92, was a radio operator with the Third Joint Assault Signal Company, Third Marine Division, fighting in the South Pacific during World War II. After his parents died when he was young, Joe was raised by Catholic nuns in Polish orphanages on Burritt Street in New Britain and in New York City. He enlisted in the Marines at age 19 in December, 1942, shipped out of Camp Pendleton, San Diego in the spring of 1944 and spent a month on Guadalcanal preparing for the battles ahead. In an open field on Guam in August, 1944, Roman was operating a radio when his partner, charged with guarding him, took a bullet “through the helmet and head. He was killed instantly,” he says. “We didn’t have time to be scared.” Roman also is a proud survivor of the Battle of Iwo Jima where he managed vital ship-to-shore and ship-to-air radio communications. Roman is a graduate of New York University, spent a career in the transportation industry, and raised a large family with his wife Margaret, who passed in 2012. He is a member of the Iwo Jima Survivors Association and currently resides at Arbor Rose in New Britain.