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First Name: Peter

Last Name: Tomich

Birthplace: Prolog, BIH

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Water Tender Chief Petty Officer

Date of Birth: 03 June 1893

Date of Death: 07 December 1941

Rank or Rate: Chief Petty Officer

Years Served: 1917-19 (Army), 1919-41 (Navy
Peter Tomich

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Peter Tomich

Chief Watertender, U.S. Navy

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Chief Watertender Petar Herceg 'Tonić' (Anglicized as Peter Tomich) (3 June 1893 - 7 December 1941) was a U.S. Navy sailor who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions in World War II.

Peter Tomich was an ethnic Croat born as Petar Herceg, with family nickname 'Tonić', in Prolog near Ljubuški, Austria-Hungary (today Bosnia and Herzegovina).

By 1941, he had become a Chief Watertender on board the training and target ship USS Utah. On 7 December 1941, while the ship lay in Pearl Harbor, moored off Ford Island, she was torpedoed during Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Tomich was on duty in a boiler room. As Utah began to capsize, he remained below securing the boilers and making certain that other men escaped, and so lost his life. For his self-sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Chief Watertender, U.S. Navy.

Citation: 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 by the Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Although realizing that the ship was capsizing, as a result of enemy bombing and torpedoing, Tomich remained at his post in the engineering plant of the U.S.S. Utah, until he saw that all boilers were secured and all fireroom personnel had left their stations, and by so doing lost his own life.

His Medal of Honor was on display at the Navy's Senior Enlisted Academy (Tomich Hall). Later, the decoration was presented to Tomich's family on the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier in the southern Adriatic city of Split in Croatia, on 18 May 2006, sixty-four years after US President Franklin D. Roosevelt awarded it to him.


The destroyer escort USS Tomich (DE-242), 1943-1974, was named in honor of Chief Watertender Tomich.

The United States Navy Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, RI, is named Tomich Hall in honor of Chief Watertender Tomich.

Death and Burial

Chief Watertender Peter Tomich was killed in action on 7 December 1941. His body is entombed within the sunken ship, the USS Utah. His name is inscribed on the Wall of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu, HI.

Honoree ID: 1674   Created by: MHOH




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