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 »  Home  »  History  »  President Mesić decorated the US Admiral Lunney with the Order of Trefoil
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President Mesić decorated the US Admiral Lunney with the Order of Trefoil
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  10/19/2007 | History , Friends In Action , Friends , Awards | Unrated
We honor our Croatian friends


President Mesić decorated the retired US Admiral Lunney




26 September 2007 - New York 
 
Croatian President Stjepan Mesić has decorated retired US Admiral  J. Robert Lunney with the Order of Trefoil. The decoration was presented to Lunney at a ceremony in the Croatian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. Admiral Lunney invested a lot of efforts, time and enthusiasm to find the family of Croat Peter Tomich, who was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, so as to present them with the Congressional Medal of Honor, President Mesić said.

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress, it is often called the Congressional Medal of Honor. The decoration was presented to Tomich's family on the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier in the southern Adriatic city of Split on 18 May 2006, sixty-four years after US President Franklin D. Roosevelt awarded it to this brave Croatian emigrant.

Tomich was decorated 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.

At the ceremony on Wednesday, Admiral Lunney said the US Navy had not encouraged him to search for Tomich's family, on the contrary the Navy said this was irrelevant, adding that he was alone in his efforts and was exceptionally proud to receive this Croatian state decoration.
 
http://www.predsjednik.hr/default.asp?mode=1&gl=200709270000007&jezik=1&sid=





26.09.2007. - New York
 
Govor predsjednika Mesića prigodom dodjele odlikovanja admiralu Lunneyu

Gospodine admirale,
Uvaženi gosti i uzvanici,
Gospođe i gospodo,

Čini mi osobito zadovoljstvo što mogu odlikovati čovjeka koji je posvetio mnogo energije, mnogo vremena i mnogo entuzijazma tome, da privede kraju priču započetu u vrijeme II. Svjetskog rata. Pomogao je pronaći obitelj Hrvata poginuloga u napadu na Pearl Harbour, kako bi joj bilo predano visoko odlikovanje kojime je taj pripadnik američkih oružanih snaga, naš zemljak, bio odlikovan.

Ta divna ljudska priča, priča o herojstvu u teškim vremenima kojima su carevali smrt i razaranje, dobila je svoj pravi i logičan kraj kada su članovi obitelji vojnika koji nije štedio sebe da bi spasio druge i koji je u tome plemenitom naporu dao svoj život, primili njemu namijenjeno priznanje.
A potpuni kraj ta priča dobiva danas, kada - kao Predsjednik Republike Hrvatske - mogu odati priznanje čovjeku kojemu zahvaljujemo što se to moglo dogoditi.
Prilika je to i da se podsjetimo II. Svjetskog rata, velike, globalne bitke za slobodu pojedinaca i naroda, za slobodni razvoj država, za demokraciju i ravnopravnost. I - nemojmo zaboraviti - prilika je to da se podsjetimo i ratnoga savezništva iskovanog u toj borbi, savezništva što je jedan od nezaobilaznih temeljaca hrvatsko-američkog prijateljstva.

Na tradicijama odnosa stvorenih u tim, danas već dalekim danima, valja graditi dalje - mada u promijenjenim uvjetima i u svijetu u kojemu se vode neke druge bitke i neki drugi ratovi. No, ideali generacije koja je na svojim plećima iznijela teret II. Svjetskog rata, ideali mira i suradnje i danas bi trebali biti ključne odrednice ponašanja odgovornih država, svih država, na svjetskoj sceni.

Gospodine admirale, zahvaljujem na naporima koje ste neumorno poduzimali, čestitam Vam na uspjehu kojime su oni bili okrunjeni i sa zadovoljstvom Vam predajem Red hrvatskog trolista.
 
 
http://www.predsjednik.hr/default.asp?mode=1&gl=200709270000005&jezik=1&sid=



In friendly atmosphere President Mesic, Admiral Lunney and Nenad Bach


26.09.2007. - New York
 
Predsjednik Mesić dodijelio odlikovanje američkom admiralu J. Robertu Lunneyu

Na prigodnoj svečanosti u Stalnoj misiji RH pri UN-u u New Yorku, hrvatski je predsjednik Stjepan Mesić u srijedu dodijelio odličje Reda hrvatskog trolista američkom umirovljenom admiralu J. Robertu Lunneyu.

Admiral Lunney posvetio je mnogo energije, vremena i entuzijazma da pronađe obitelj Hrvata Petera Tomicha poginulog u napadu na Pearl Harbour 7. prosinca 1941., kako bi joj predao kongresnu Medalju časti kojom je za hrabrost odlikovan Tomich, rekao je predsjednik Mesić. Kongresna Medalja časti, najviše američko vojno odličje, uručena je obitelji Petera Tomicha na nosaču aviona USS Enterprise u Splitu 18. svibnja prošle godine, 64 godine nakon što ju je predsjednik Franklin D. Roosevelt dodijelio tom hrabrom hrvatskom iseljeniku.  Nadnarednik Tomich, "Chief Watertender" - zapovjednik stroja na USS Utah, umro je herojski, zaštitivši posadu broda, jer je spriječio eksploziju parnih kotlova čime je izbjegnuta veća tragedija. U japanskom napadu na Pearl Harbour USS Utah je pogođen avionskim torpedom i potopljen, povukavši u smrt više od 50 mornara. Dok su svi napuštali brod, Tomich se spustio u strojarnicu da pomogne drugima izaći i spriječi eksploziju kotlova, svjedočili su preživjeli mornari.

"Ta divna ljudska priča, priča o herojstvu u teškim vremenima kojima su carevali smrt i razaranje, dobila je svoj pravi i logičan kraj kada su članovi obitelji vojnika koji nije štedio ni sebe da bi spasio druge, dajući svoj život u tom plemenitom naporu, primili njemu namijenjeno priznanje. A potpuni kraj priča dobiva danas, kada kao predsjednik RH, mogu odati priznanje čovjeku kojem zahvaljujem što se to moglo dogoditi", rekao je hrvatski predsjednik.
Istaknuo je kako je dodjela Reda Hrvatskog trolista admiralu Lunneyu prilika da se podsjetimo ratnog savezništva iskovanog u II. Svjetskom ratu, "savezništva što je jedan od nezaobilaznih temeljaca hrvatsko-američkog prijateljstva".

Zahvaljujući na priznanju, umirovljeni admiral kazao je kako je "zapovjednik Tomich, hrvatski iseljenik, iskazao izvanrednu hrabrost" i da je kao "istinski mornarički heroj nagrađen najvišim američkim priznanjem - Medaljom časti".  Opisao je svoje dugogodišnje traganje za najbližim Tomichevim rođakom, koje ga je 1997. odvelo na put u Hrvatsku, u Prolog kod Vrgorca gdje je Tomich rođen 1893. Enigmu je riješio u Franjevačkom samostanu u Humcu, gdje su u matičnim knjigama pronađeni svi podaci o Tomichu te je utvrđeno da mu je najbliži rod Srećko Herceg-Tonić, odlikovani branitelj iz Domovinskog rata.

Citirajući riječi bivšeg američkog predsjednika Johna F. Kennedya, da se "nacija pokazuje po ljudima koje daje, ali također i po ljudima koje odlikuje, ljudima kojih se sjeća", admiral Lunney rekao je da američko prijateljstvo s Hrvatskom treba rasti na temelju časne povijesti, povijesti zajedničkih univerzalnih vrijednosti. "Naše dvije zemlje bile su i bit će istinski saveznici", rekao je.

Admiral Lunney se zahvalio za pomoć Adamu S. Eterovichu iz Hrvatskog genealoškog društva u Kaliforniji, zagrebačkom novinaru Vjekoslavu Krsniku, splitskom slikaru Zvonimiru Mihanoviću, Edu Andrusu, predsjedniku Nacionalne federacije američkih Hrvata, zamjeniku stalne predstavnice RH pri UN, veleposlaniku Amiru Muharemiju te, kako je rekao, "velikom hrvatskom domoljubu Nenadu Bachu", njegovom osobnom prijatelju. Admiral je kasnije rekao kako ga u Ratnoj mornarici nisu ohrabrivali na traganje za Tomichevim rodom, već su mu dapače govorili kako to nije važno, tako da je to uglavnom bio njegov vlastiti angažman i stoga je iznimno ponosan na uspjeh i primljeno priznanje.

Nenad Bach, hrvatski glazbenik i kulturni promotor u SAD, kazao je kako je on potaknuo zamisao da Hrvatska odlikuje admirala Lunneya, te dodao kako i Peter Tomich kao snažna hrvatsko-američka spona u domovini zavrjeđuje barem spomen-ploču.  Prije dodjele odlikovanja admiralu Lunneyu, predsjednik Mesić sastao se s predsjednikom Republike Latvije Nj.E. g. Valdisom Zatlersom s kojim je razgovarao o jačanju bilateralnih odnosa dviju zemalja, te s albanskim premijerom Salijem Berishom.
 
 
http://www.predsjednik.hr/default.asp?mode=1&gl=200709270000002&jezik=1&sid=


President of NFCA Ed Andrus with Admiral J.Robert Lunney




Admiral J.Robert Lunney, Ambassador Neven Jurica and President Stjepan Mesić

RADM  J. ROBERT LUNNEY, NYNM (Ret.)
26 September 2007
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations
820 2nd Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10017

[Acknowledge introduction and recognize distinguished guests]

           During World War II at the age of 17, I was assigned to the Naval Amphibious Forces, Pacific and while passing through Pearl Harbor I viewed the capsized hulk of the USS UTAH.  Only years later did I learn that over fifty crewmen, including Chief Petty Officer Peter Tomich, are still entombed to this day in the sunken ship.  

          Chief Tomich, a Croatian immigrant, in exhibiting extraordinary courage clearly displayed the true meaning of his adopted country  - the land of the free because it is the home of the brave. A true Naval hero he was awarded our nation's highest recognition - the Medal of Honor.
 
          Unfortunately over the years Chief Tomich's family was not located and his Medal was never presented to his next of kin.  However, I decided to locate the relatives of Chief Tomich when with my wife, Joan, and son, Alexander, I planned a visit to Croatia in 1997.  When learning of this, Admiral Rosen strongly encouraged me and had New York Naval Militia military orders issued directing me to investigate and identify an appropriate next of kin to whom the Medal could be presented.  
 
          The search for Chief Tomich's family was very successful because of the substantial assistance of many Croatian friends who should be recognized here today.  After I reviewed the Chief's entire Navy record, Adam S. Eterovich of the Croatian Genealogical Society generously provided me with important background information on the Tomich family.  Together with the valuable guidance from journalist, Vjekoslav Krsnik, we set out on our search.  Arriving in Croatia we received outstanding cooperation from our good friend Zvonimir Mihanovic who arranged for our travels into Bosnia.  He enabled us to visit the Franciscan Abbey in Humac where the Superior of the Abbey, Fra Dragicevic, gave us full access to the birth, baptismal, marriage and death records of the Herceg-Tonic family.
 
           Also, here in America I have had the strong support of Ed Andrus, President of the National Federation of Croatian Americans and my good friend, a great Croatian patriot, Nenad Bach. After an extensive examination of the documentary proof of Chief Tomich's background and family we traveled to his home town, Prolog, where Chief Tomich was born in 1893.  We had the great pleasure of meeting his entire family.  There we were most pleased to identify Srecko Herceg-Tonic, a highly decorated hero of Croatia's recent war for independence, as the appropriate representative to be presented with the Medal of Honor.  Throughout my investigation and acquisition of all the documentary evidence I had the skillful and loyal assistance of Juliana Velcic, an outstanding friend and interpreter.

          During the course of my investigation I also had the pleasure of speaking with some of the UTAH survivors, all of whom spoke most favorably of their leader, Chief Tomich, who held the highest enlisted rating in the Navy. His shipmates remember his quiet demeanor, someone who rarely spoke of a family but who was constantly concerned about his men.  Survivors dramatically related how the UTAH capsized within 12 minutes of the attack with the Japanese machine gunning the crew as they abandoned ship.  For over twenty years the Navy was Chief's Tomich's family and this was clearly evidenced when one of his shipmates told me as he was escaping the engine spaces Chief  Tomich was going down the ladder to secure the boilers and insure that all his men were out safely.  With this courageous act he saved many lives and sacrificed his own so that others would live. Other survivors spoke of Chief Tomich's leadership qualities and his high expectations for his men.  
 
          In honor of Chief's Tomich's sacrifice, the Navy, in World War II, commissioned a Destroyer Escort, the USS TOMICH.  Also in his honor, the Navy established the Senior Enlisted Academy, named "Tomich Hall", in Newport, Rhode Island.  Significantly, the motto of the Academy is, "Leadership by Example".
 
          And what now?. The reason we accept awards is to invigorate others to do good in the world, as individuals, groups and whole countries.  Croatia is a small country compared to America but if we calculate the contributions of Croatian Americans then the size does not matter as witnessed by the valor of  Peter Tomich. Our friendship should grow on the basis of honorable history - a history of shared values - values that are universal and destined to radiate throughout the world. Our two nations have been and will be true allies.
 
          As President John F. Kennedy stated, "A Nation reveals itself by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers".  Today we honor Chief Tomich and we will always remember him.
 
           Thank you,


Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
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