GREENPORT, N.Y., May 27, 2023 — Edwin Cartoski, 99, a World War II veteran and Korean War Marine aviator, was named Veteran of the Year for the First Senatorial District by Senator Anthony Palumbo on Friday, May 12. Cartoski was presented with a proclamation during a ceremony at Peconic Landing, the life plan community in Greenport where he resides, with family, friends, and fellow veterans present. He will be inducted into the New York Senate’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame later this year.
According to the New York Senate’s website, the Veterans’ Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life. Cartoski was nominated for the recognition by Commander William Hughes of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5350 of Westhampton Beach. Nearly a dozen members of the Post attended the ceremony to show their support. The event was also attended by his daughter, Bernadette Aldcroft, and nearly 100 Peconic Landing members and team members.
“It’s such a pleasure to have this happen, and I can’t thank everyone enough,” said Cartoski during the ceremony. “To Senator Palumbo, Bill Hughes, Peconic Landing and their tremendous staff, thank you all.”
Cartoski grew up in Quiogue, NY and graduated from Westhampton Beach High School in
1942. At the age of eighteen, he graduated early in order to join the war effort. He enlisted in the Navy and underwent extensive aircraft and infantry training in New York, North Carolina, Missouri, and Florida, where he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant Marine Pilot. He went on to serve in the Philippines and Hawaii during World War II and then was recalled to active duty at the start of the Korean War to serve with the Marines in Korea, providing air support for the first Marine division.
In 1955, Cartoski left active duty but remained in the reserves to work as a test pilot for Grumman Aerospace Corporation, allowing him to be closer to his wife Althea and their growing family that would eventually include five children. While in the reserves, Cartoski graduated from the Naval War College at the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia. Upon his retirement from Grumman, he received the Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award for his role in numerous lifesaving missions.
Cartoski retired from the Marine Corps in 1974 as a Colonel, after decades of service to his country. Over the course of his military career, he flew over 181 different types of aircraft and amassed over 17,000 hours of flight time. He has been awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross with one Gold Star, The Air Medal with Five Gold Stars, Presidential Unit Citation for Service in Korea, Army Distinguished Citation for Service in Korea, Organized Marine Corps Reserve Medal, American Campaign Medal, Victory Medal World War II, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and Korean Presidential Unit Citation for Service in Korea.
“It was my honor and privilege to nominate Colonel Edwin J. Cartoski as my 2023 inductee to the New York Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame and to present him with a New York State Proclamation as our Veteran of the Year for the 1st Senatorial District,” said Sen. Palumbo. “I am proud to honor him for his exemplary service to his community, state, and nation.”
Since retiring, Cartoski has remained an active community member on the East End of Long Island. He co-founded the United Parents of Mercy High School and has served as a leader of the Riverhead Polish Independent Club. He has also been an active member of the VFW Post 5350 where he has helped to provide for veterans in need and award scholarships to local high school students.
Cartoski has also been an active member at Peconic Landing, the East End’s only life plan community, where he moved to in 2016. There, he has served on the community’s Veterans Day Wedding Giveback committee, helping to choose a deserving military couple to win a free wedding hosted by Peconic Landing with the support of local vendors. “We are truly humbled by the presence of Colonel Cartoski and the many remarkable veterans here at Peconic Landing,” said Robert J. Syron, President and CEO of Peconic Landing. “Their invaluable contributions, both within the armed forces and as vital members of our community, have influenced countless lives and deserve our utmost respect and admiration. Through their courage, resilience, and devotion to duty, they have created a legacy of honor that inspires us all.”