Finding Lt. Fazekas: Resolution

For May 30, 2018

Hi WN@TL Fans,

In an interview 13 years ago with one of his grandchildren, my Dad said that Saving Private Ryan was his favorite movie.

The fundamental message of the movie was found in the last words of Tom Hanks’ character:   “Earn this.”

I think those two words were probably the the underlying reason why the movie became Dad’s favorite.  He had once told me of the elation he felt in mid August 1945, while serving in the Army and stationed Manila, when he realized that he was going to live through the war, unlike so many others of his age who did not.

Every year at Memorial Day, we get to consider what it means for each generation to earn the gifts presented by those who have died in military service to the nation.

Today (May 30) is the traditional Memorial Day, and I am grateful to be able to mark the day with a presentation on the now-completed story of “Finding Lt. Fazekas:  Resolution.”   Charles Konsitzke, Leslie Eisenberg and Ryan Wubben will share the story of their excavations in 2016 and 2017 in the north of France.

Here’s how the presenters describe their talk:

In this talk, the team of three will tell its story of recovering the wreckage at the crash site — and the remains of first lieutenant Frank Fazekas — long after his P-47 Thunderbolt plane fell from formation over northern France during World War II — a little more than a week before the D-day invasion in 1944.

About the Speakers

Charles Konsitzke has been administering and facilitating research on campus for nearly 20 years. He has a passion for developing large-scale projects and advancing research.

Leslie Eisenberg is a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team. She was deployed to New York City immediately following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and to southern Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a registered professional archaeologist, serving as a consultant to law enforcement in Wisconsin and other jurisdictions. During the summers of 2016 and 2017, she had the honor of directing the University of Wisconsin’s field excavations at the Fazekas site in collaboration with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Ryan Wubben’s interests include prehospital and critical-care transport, HEMS/aeromedical, global health, and emergency medicine in the developing world. He is involved in the joint University of Wisconsin and Addis Ababa University “Twinning Project,” which helps to develop emergency medicine at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Wubben also has played an integral role in the School of Medicine and Public Health admissions process, serving as vice chair and chair of the Non-Resident Admissions Committee and as a member of the school’s Admissions Executive Committee.


I am delighted to inform you that Frank Fazekas, Jr, the son of Lt. Fazekas, and Frank Jr’s wife Evelyn will both be in the audience.  It will be a unique opportunity to hear from them how this recovery project, as well as how the enduring gratitude of the people of Buysscheure, France, have affected the arcs of their lives.

Next week (June 6) Raluca Scarlat from Engineering Physics will be here to share insights into her research into new designs for nuclear reactors.

Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!

Thanks again,

Tom Zinnen
UW-Madison and UW-Extension