My letter to the New York Times regarding Chief Tomich was not published- (no surprise there, only one out of dozens I sent was ever published)but thanks to Tony Margan it connected to a important place: The NavalWar College in Newport, Rhode Island. There, the Senior Enlisted Academyis located in the Petar Tomich Hall, dedicated to Chief Tomich. Eachenlisted man receives a flyer explaining who Petar Tomich was and why hewon the Medal of Honor. Unfortunately, it also states that he wasAustrian.
You can read below the following letter exchange between Tony and theAcademy. Very encouraging - nothing is always in vain!
fyi: a response from Chief Rao:
-----Original Message----- From: RAO, CMDCM(SW) RALPH [mailto:RALPH.RAO@cnet.navy.mil]
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 2:08 PM
To: 'Margan, Anthony'
Subject: RE: one last item on Chief Tomich
Great information. We will update our records to reflect the change.
-----Original Message----- From: Margan, Anthony [mailto:Anthony.Margan@marad.dot.gov]
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 1:38 PM
To: 'RAO, CMDCM(SW) RALPH'
Subject: one last item on Chief Tomich
One last item on Chief Tomich: fyi: a letter to the Editor of the NY Times - from Mrs. Hilda Foley, clarifying Chief Tomich's origins:
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003
Subject: Medal of Honor
Thank you for the interesting article about Chief Watertender Peter Tomich of the battleship Utah ("A Medal Both Coveted and Orphaned", April 1) and his unclaimed Medal of Honor.
The article states that he came from a village that is in today's Bosnia. He was a Croatian, and it would be nice to have that acknowledged, as Croatians are quite proud of him. Too many Croatians who have achieved renown as heroes, doctors, scientists, etc. have been presented as "Austrians, Hungarians, Italians and Yugoslavs, depending under whose rule they happened to live. Chief Tomich was a Croat from Bosnia, then under Austria-Hungary. He was listed as Austrian and that made the research for his kin so difficult. His family, a nephew and great-nephew were found in Bosnia-Herzegovina a few years ago by rear admiral Robert Lunney.
Hilda M. Foley
National Federation of Croatian Americans
13272 Orange Knoll
Santa Ana, Ca 92705