Former VFW national commander from Robinson remembered as hero

John A. Biedrzycki


By TOM DAVIDSON | The Tribune-Review, Greensburg | Published: August 31, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — When he became national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2015, John A. Biedrzycki said it was time for the group to regain its relevancy.

"The old-boys network and the days of the old barroom commanders have come and gone," Biedrzycki said at the 2015 VFW convention in Pittsburgh when he was chosen at the leader of the influential veterans group. "We are losing our relevancy to the younger generation of veterans."

Biedrzycki, a member of VFW Post 418 in McKees Rocks, died Thursday. He was 73.

"Our nation has lost a hero," Sen. Pat Toomey said in a statement. "John Biedrzycki Jr. was a decorated veteran who dedicated his life to service of his beloved nation and commonwealth."

Biedrzycki, of Robinson served from 1967 to 1970 in the U.S. Army and was a pay distribution specialist in Korea for the 7th Infantry Division, according to the VFW. He was awarded a National Defense Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Korean Defense Medal for his service.

In 1969, Biedrzycki joined the McKees Rocks post. He was a life member and served in numerous positions.

He rose through the ranks of the VFW leadership, serving in varies county, district and state levels. In 2002-2003 he was department (state) commander, and he earned All-American status, according to the VFW. He also served on many national VFW committees and was elected national commander in 2015.

Biedrzycki was a life member of Military Order of the Cootie, a separate veterans service organization that bills itself as the "honor degree of the VFW" and was a life member of the VFW National Home for Children.

He also served as a member of the board of directors of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Museum in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood.

He was a retired social studies teacher and baseball coach at the West End's former Langley High School and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in education.


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