World War II hero and longtime educator John “Bud” Hawk, 89, died Monday morning.There are now 78 surviving Medal of Honor recipients, eight of whom were awarded the medal for WWII service.
One of the area’s most renowned residents, Hawk received the Medal of Honor and France’s Legion of Honor awards. Named after him were the Rollingbay post office on Bainbridge Island, where he grew up, and an education center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
After returning to Bremerton, Hawk earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Washington. He was a teacher and principal in the Central Kitsap School District for 31 years, retiring in 1983.
Son Mark, of Des Moines, also survives Hawk. Another son was killed in an accident while walking to school in 1956.
Hawk’s wife died several years ago.
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JOHN DRUSE HAWK
Sergeant, US Army; Company E, 359th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division
Born: 30 May 1924, San Francisco, California
Died: 4 November 2013, Bremerton, Washington
Citation: He manned a light machinegun on 20 August 1944, near Chambois, France, a key point in the encirclement which created the Falaise Pocket. During an enemy counterattack, his position was menaced by a strong force of tanks and infantry. His fire forced the infantry to withdraw, but an artillery shell knocked out his gun and wounded him in the right thigh. Securing a bazooka, he and another man stalked the tanks and forced them to retire to a wooded section. In the lull which followed, Sgt. Hawk reorganized 2 machinegun squads and, in the face of intense enemy fire, directed the assembly of 1 workable weapon from 2 damaged guns. When another enemy assault developed, he was forced to pull back from the pressure of spearheading armor. Two of our tank destroyers were brought up. Their shots were ineffective because of the terrain until Sgt. Hawk, despite his wound, boldly climbed to an exposed position on a knoll where, unmoved by fusillades from the enemy, he became a human aiming stake for the destroyers. Realizing that his shouted fire directions could not be heard above the noise of battle, he ran back to the destroyers through a concentration of bullets and shrapnel to correct the range. He returned to his exposed position, repeating this performance until 2 of the tanks were knocked out and a third driven off. Still at great risk, he continued to direct the destroyers' fire into the Germans' wooded position until the enemy came out and surrendered. Sgt. Hawk's fearless initiative and heroic conduct, even while suffering from a painful wound, was in large measure responsible for crushing 2 desperate attempts of the enemy to escape from the Falaise Picket and for taking more than 500 prisoners.