Naval hospital commemorates battle of Midway
By Petty Officer 1st Class Michael R. McCormick
| Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | June 10, 2013
Camp Pendleton, Calif. --
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Richard J. Nowatzki, a veteran who served aboard the USS Hornet (CV 8) during the Battle of Midway, joined Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton staff and guests, June 5, in commemorating the 71st anniversary of the famous World War II naval battle.
The event, which was organized by the hospital’s Chief Petty Officer Mess and First Class Petty Officers Association, included special Colors and a wreath laying ceremony with music provided by the 1st Marine Division Band.
Before introducing Nowatzki, the guest speaker, Capt. Kenneth Iverson, the hospital’s commanding officer, addressed the importance of the Battle of Midway.
“Some historians have said Midway is the most decisive naval battle in naval history. It certainly is recognized as the battle that turned the tide in the Pacific campaign during World War II,” said Iverson. “We remember those that served in that battle, like Lt. Cmdr. Nowatzki, and we remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, the 307 souls, so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today.”
During his speech, Nowatzki thanked the hospital for inviting him and told the audience of the events leading up to and during the famous battle.
The commemoration concluded with Nowatzki and Iverson placing a wreath at the base of the NHCP flag pole while “Taps” was played by the 1st Marine Division Band to honor the fallen of the famous battle.
Nowatzki, a native of Freeport, Ill., enlisted in the Navy August 1941 and was a plank owner of the Hornet. While serving onboard Hornet he was part of many historical events including the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway and was one of the last crewmen to abandon her when the Hornet sank during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands Oct. 27, 1942.
For more information about the Battle of Midway, visit http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/midway/midway.htm.