SSgt. Walter Sak – Park 70

One War, Four Brothers, and a City Park

Location:  Rich, Lovett and Kinsman Streets

The first thing I ever read about Walter Sak Playground was in a city report stating it was “a forlorn park in a forlorn neighborhood”.  Little evidence of a playground remained when I first rolled by.  The surrounding neighborhood was a mixed bag of hope and blight with some new construction and steadfast neighbors just trying to keep it all together. 

I'll replace this with a recent photo soon. Hope the dolphin and helix are still there.
I’ll replace this with a recent photo soon. Hope the dolphin and helix are still there.

Formerly known as Kinsman Playground, the park first came to fruition in the 1920’s.  Good days were seen in 1940’s and 1950’s serving kids with a baseball diamond, lots of playground equipment, ice skating [flooded park in winter], drinking fountains, and a comfort station with toilet.  A 1 acre destination for neighborhood kids.

Jacob and Tille Sak raised their large Polish family of 11 children on nearby Scotten Street.  When World War II came along, four eligible and brave sons served in WWII – Michael, Joseph, Stanley and Walter.  They all returned to Detroit except for Walter.

Walter Sak courtesy of Stanley Sak and WWIImemorial.com Some of the loveliest military photos I've run across.
Walter Sak – US Army.  All photos courtesy of Stanley Sak and WWIImemorial.com Some of the loveliest military photos I’ve run across.

 

Stanley Sak - US Navy; may you be always blessed Stanley. Photo courtesy Stanley Sak and WWIImemorial.org
Stanley Sak – US Navy; May you be always blessed Stanley.

 

Michael Carl Sak - US Army
Michael Carl Sak – US Army
Joseph Louis Sak - US Army Airforce
Joseph Louis Sak – US Army AirForce

Prior to service, Walter was a skilled worker in an auto parts factory grinding and buffing.  He landed in the US Army 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant earning both the Bronze Medal and Silver Star.

His division was responsible for many amphibious assaults including D-Day at Normandy.  Walter’s service was long and varied with additional battles in North Africa- Kasserine Pass, Tunisia ; Sicily, Italy; Remagen and Stolberg, Germany.

Battle Map - Hürtgen Forest, Germany. 11-20-44 Walter's path with the 1st Infantry, 26th Division is on the lower right with short pink arrow. Source: A Dark and Bloody Ground by Edward Miller.
Battle Map – Hürtgen Forest, Germany. Walter’s path with the 1st Division, 26th Infantry is on the lower right. Source: A Dark and Bloody Ground by Edward Miller.

The end of the line came on Monday, November 20, 1944; Walter died of wounds received in battle.  He arrived at the field hospital missing his arm.  His division took the Laufenberg Castle. The specifics of his service, military citation and subsequent death are forgotten details most likely lost in the archival fire of 1973.

His surviving family tells us an inquiry with the National Archive shows the battle site in  Schevenhütte, Hürtgen Forest, Germany.  Interned in Belgium in the Henri-Chapelle US Military Cemetery; Walter Sak, Detroit remembers you.

Thanks for reading. Copyright as usual. 2015. Andrea Gallucci.