Sen. Menendez on Passing of WWII Vet Stanley Viechec

Sen. Menendez on Passing of WWII Vet Stanley Viechec

NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today expressed his deep personal condolences to the family of Army Staff Sergeant Stanley Viechec of Toms River. The 89-year-old served in World War II and took part in the liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp. Viechec passed away yesterday morning surrounded by relatives and loved ones.

Senator Robert Menendez and Army Staff Sergeant Stanley Viechec together on Friday, February 7, 2014. (Click here for a hi-res version of this photo)

"I had the privilege and honor of meeting Mr. Viechec, Friday, spending time with his warm and loving family, holding his hand and personally thanking him for his service to our nation," said Sen. Menendez. "I was deeply moved and only hope I brought him some measure of comfort in his final days."

Sen. Menendez presented Viechec last week with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of his valiant service during World War II and his efforts in liberating Dachau.

The Senator told him: "Thank you on behalf of a grateful nation. We are very, very thankful for what you did. There are only a few generations who have been called upon to answer the call of freedom. You were one of those-part of the greatest generation-and we would not be all enjoying the blessings of liberty we enjoy today, if not for men like you."

"The Viechec family would like to thank Senator Menendez for his visit with our father and grandfather on Friday," said Craig Viechec, Stanley Viechec's grandson. "It was a bright spot during a very difficult time, and the flag that the Senator presented to him was a great honor. Grandpa gathered a lot of strength to have that conversation so we know it was important to him."

Stanley Viechec served in the Army from 1943 to 1946. During World War II, he worked with anti-aircraft artillery, led a unit that operated self-propelled machine guns and automatic weapons, and participated in the liberation of Dachau. For his service, Viechec was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the European/Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

"Too often, we honor our American heroes only after they are gone," Sen. Menendez said. "I am grateful to have been able to give Mr. Viechec the recognition he deserves while he was still able to accept and enjoy it."

Stanley Viechec is survived by his two children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Sen. Menendez added, "His loss will be profoundly felt. I extend my sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Viechec family."

Army Staff Sergeant Stanley Viechec (Click here for a hi-res version of this photo)