Kościuszko's Squadron

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The name Kościuszko's Squadron or Kościuszko's Escadrille, taken from the Polish hero Tadeusz Kościuszko, has been borne by several units of the Polish Air Force throughout its history. Each used the insignia designed by Eliott Chess, an American pilot serving with the Polish Army during the Polish-Soviet War. First formed after Poland regained independence following World War I, it consisted of a small group of American volunteers independent of the U.S. State Department or the American Expeditionary Force in Europe.[1] One of the most famous pilots was Merian C. Cooper, producer of the 1933 movie King Kong, who was decorated for valor by Polish commander-in-chief Józef Piłsudski with the highest Polish military decoration, the Virtuti Militari. During WW II the Kościuszko Squadron[2] was formed by refugee Polish pilots who joined the RAF and played an essential role in helping save England during the Battle of Britain.

The Kościuszko Squadron emblem depicts the distinctive four-cornered rogatywka (red cap of traditional Polish style) set against a field of seven red vertical stripes on a white background (forming six white stripes as a result) from the Flag of the United States, red and white also being two colours contained in both the Polish and American flags. Behind the red cap is a pair of crossed scythes. Thirteen blue stars encircle the badge, representing the thirteen original American states.[3]

The rogatywka cap and scythes commemorate the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794: ten years after General Tadeusz Kościuszko returned to Poland from America, and led the Polish people, many armed only with scythes, in an attempt to liberate Poland from Russia and Prussia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cisek, Janusz (2002). Kościuszko, we are here! : American Pilots of the Kościuszko Squadron in Defense of Poland, 1919-1921. McFarland. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-7864-1240-2. 
  2. ^ Olson, Lynne (2003). A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II. Knopf. p. 495. ISBN 9780375726255. 
  3. ^ Fiedler, Arkady (2010). 303 Squadron: The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron. page 306: Aquila Polonica Publishing. p. 332. ISBN 9781607720041.