Senate bill honors Army Rangers of World War II, including Derry's Borowski

DERRY NEWS/File photoWalter Borowski, of Derry, center, was awarded the Legion of Honor by the Republic of France in a ceremony at the Derry Municipal Center. The Consul General of France in Boston, Christophe Guilhou, presented the award to Borowski, who also was honored by many local dignitaries for his service in World War II, part of the Army Rangers.  Borowski died in 2010.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that will honor the U.S. Army Rangers who served in World War II.

Co-sponsored by New Hampshire Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, the bill will award the Congressional Gold Medal to Ranger veterans in recognition of their extraordinary service.

All members of the Ranger battalions were volunteers, whose service contributed to the military success of the United State and allies.

"The Army Rangers of World War II valiantly put their lives on the line, serving in some of the toughest conditions to bring us to victory," Hassan said. "These brave service members deserve to be recognized for their heroic actions."

The first Army Ranger combat operations took place in August 1942 when 50 Rangers took part in a raid on the French coastal town of Dieppe. Rangers went on to serve in major combat operations in both European and Pacific theaters.

Derry had its own Ranger, Walter Borowski, honored for his service many times prior to his death in 2010.

Borowski was part of the men of "Rudder's Rangers," who climbed the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, June 6, 1944, on the coast of France.

Retired town historian Richard Holmes often wrote of Borowski in his books on area history and in columns for local newspapers. He called Borowski a quiet man that saw so much, and never called himself a hero.

Holmes noted in his writing that Borowski and his Rangers unit were engaged that day in France in hand-to-hand combat with the Germans, hours and hours of kill or be killed, and that "ordinary men did extraordinary things."

But after the war ended, Borowski returned to his hometown of Derry, raised a family and became a humble, unassuming resident, the historian said.

"Walter is a quiet man who is happiest when working in his gardens," Holmes wrote prior to the veteran's death. "Walter, I also know you have always denied you were a hero."

Shaheen noted that Army Rangers, like Borowski, fought in some of the most challenging operations during the war and helped lay the groundwork for more modern special operations forces.

"The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor Congress can bestow and the service and sacrifice of our World War II Ranger units certainly makes them deserving of such a distinction," Shaheen said.

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