Patriot missile designer dies aged 91
Zdzislaw Starostecki, one of the principal designers of the Patriot missile, has died in the US.
Starostecki died at his home in Sarasota, Florida, on New Year’s Eve.
Born in Lodz in 1919, Starostecki fought for his country in the ill-fated September Campaign of 1939. On attempting to flee occupied Poland, he was arrested by the Soviets and given an eight-year- prison sentence. He was dispatched to Siberia where he mined gold in the camp at Kolyma.
Starostecki was released in 1941 along with thousands of Poles following the official amnesty in the wake of Hitler’s invasion of Germany. He left the Soviet Union with the forces gathered by General Anders, serving with the Polish Second Corps in the Italian Campaign, seeing combat at the Battle of Monte Cassino, amongst others.
Like the majority of Anders’ soldiers, Starostecki did not return to Poland, which fell into the Soviet sphere after the war. After studying in England, he emigrated to America with his wife and two sons.
Sstudied at the Stevens Institute of Technology, and was ultimately hired by the Defense Department Research and Development Center of the US Army.
During the 1980s, Starostecki was one of the chief designers on the Patriot missile programme.
In November 2009, he was awarded with the rank of honorary general by the then President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski. Ironically, the missile that he was instrumental in designing is now due to come to Poland as part of the defensive system agreed with the U.S. (nh)
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