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Posted on May 17, 2006 in History News

WWII Medal of Honor recipient’s life story now on DVD

Armchair General

Bellevue, Wash. – May 18, 2006 – Following hours of interviewing and digital video recording, today Medal of Honor recipient John “Bud” Hawk’s life story has been preserved for future generations on DVD.

John “Bud” Hawk will be riding in his 60th Armed Forces Day Parade on May 20th in Downtown Bremerton, Washington.

John Hawk was drafted right out of high school in 1943 and was a private first class when he landed at Normandy in a C-47 transport plane a few weeks after the Allied invasion.

American troops advancing from the south and English troops from the north had encircled German troops in what became known as the Falaise Pocket. The Germans were trying desperately to fight their way out toward the east to get their armor and heavy equipment back to defend their homeland.

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At dawn, August 20, 1944 the machinegun squad hawk commanded was dug in on the edge of an apple orchard when the counterattack began. His badly outnumbered gunners repelled the soldiers but couldn’t effectively oppose the tanks. Wounded in one leg, he found another GI with a bazooka with no one to load it for him. Together, the pair began firing at the German tanks  until they withdrew. Later in the day, Hawk saw more Tiger tanks massing for another attempted breakout.

Two American tank destroyers on the other side of the orchard were ready to open fire but couldn’t see their targets because of tree cover. Hawk then climbed to an exposed position facing the Germans and stood there, shouting for the tank destroyers to use him for an “aiming stake” to target the unseen Germans. Next, he ran back to the tank destroyers and helped them correct their range, then returned to the hill so the Americans could again use him to aim their guns. As a result two enemy tanks were destroyed and the rest were driven off. Eventually five thousand Germans surrendered because the battle in the apple orchard that kept part of the Falaise pocket closed.

Hawk was treated for his leg wound but was unwilling to be separated from his unit and refused to be hospitalized. He made it into Germany just before the Battle of the Bulge, where he was wounded again.

Hawk was back home in Washington State when he was informed he’d been awarded the Medal of Honor. President Truman placed the Medal around John Hawk’s neck at a special Olympia ceremony June 21, 1945.

John Hawk now makes his home in Bremerton, where he is a retired school principal and spends some of his spare time woodworking. Of the nation’s more than 3400 recipients, he is one of just over 100 that remain with us today.

John Hawk will be in the Armed Forces Parade in downtown Bremerton on May 20th.  He worked with Inventive Productions of Bellevue to put together his Autobiography on DVD.

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