Bernard B. Novak
|HOME OF RECORD:
New York, NY
|NEXT OF KIN:
Father, Mr. Charles Novak
|DATE OF BIRTH:
8/24/1942 – 3/1/1946
|DATE OF DEATH:
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
Biography coming soon.
1 May 45; 0900
I just got a letter from Cpl. Bernie Novak – who was my runner (messenger) up until the end of Tinian. He is a wonderful little kid – the best Catholic ever. The most energetic – most dogged – sincere + kindest guy you ever met. He got hurt on Iwo and is in Oregon now – many of us gave him up for good but he’s well + expects to enter Junior College in September. He was educated at that school on Staten Island where Bill O’Brien (St. Joe’s) once worked. I can’t remember the name of the place.
At any rate, the kid’s home is New York – I asked him to stop in on you if he gets a chance.
On Saipan we hit a tough spot – we attacked a stretch of woods on a beach going towards a western beach when a hail of fire came from same, killing a large number of guys to say nothing of wounded – after a while sweating it out we got up to go again – to mop up in the woods. Three times I went into these woods + three times no one followed me but Novak – I was afraid to take my eyes off the enemy + yet I had to get the guys to come too.
The third time I turned to curse my men, a Jap jumped out of a hole, whipped back his arm to throw a grenade, but Novak shot him through the heart – the grenade went off in his hand. All of Saipan + Tinian he watched over me like that. I always led the attack + had many occasions to turn my back, but Novak was always watching like a bodyguard.
The above incident rewarded him for his perseverance. We recommended him for a Bronze Star but he never got it. One day we were attacking but against no or unknown resistance – as it turned out there was none but I was sick + every time we halted I fell asleep – he watched over me all day. When we finally quit for the day – I learned he too was sick + he turned in the next day + was gone from me for two days. Now “see who he is”. So now if he comes you’ll know who he is although I think I may have told you this before.
That’s all for now. I think I’ll go on liberty + play tennis if I can find a partner.
Love to All, Joe
Letter from 1Lt. Joseph Swoyer, provided by Mr. Andy Swoyer.