About Peter Tomich, Chief Watertender
Five years before World War I began, Peter Tomich (Tonic) immigrated to the United States. When war broke out he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served until January 13, 1919. He received U.S. Citizenship and, ten days after his Army enlistment expired, joined the Navy. He had no known relatives so when the destroyer named in his honor was commissioned in 1943, it was decided to award his Medal to the ship itself. The award was presented on January 4, 1944 by Rear Admiral Monroe Kelly. In 1946 the USS Tomich was mothballed. In 1947, Governor Herbert B. Maw of Utah proclaimed Peter Tomich an honorary citizen of that State, and guardianship of his Medal was granted to Utah. In 1989 the Navy built the Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, RI and named the building TOMICH HALL. The facility is a combination of academy, dormitory and museum. Chief Tomich's Medal of Honor is now proudly displayed on the Quarterdeck of Tomich Hall where his adopted family, the chief petty officers of the Navy are inspired, even today, by his actions more than half-century ago
Medal of Honor
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Chief Watertender Peter Tomich, United States Navy, for distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, and extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by the Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Although realizing that the ship was capsizing, as a result of enemy bombing and torpedoing, Chief Watertender Tomich remained at his post in the engineering plant of the U.S.S. UTAH (AG-16), until he saw that all boilers were secured and all fireroom personnel had left their stations, and by so doing lost his own life.
Action Date: 7-Dec-41
Rank: Chief Watertender
Division: U.S.S. Utah (AG-16)