Bill would rename Rolling Bay Post Office building in honor of war hero

A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee would change the name of the Rolling Bay post office building to honor war hero John
A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee would change the name of the Rolling Bay post office building to honor war hero John 'Bud' Hawk.
— image credit: Sean Roach/Staff Photo

World War II veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient John 'Bud' Hawk still remembers visiting the Rolling Bay Post Office as a child.

"We lived in the hinterland behind it," said Hawk, who now lives in Bremerton. "My two sisters and I would race to see who would get to the post office box first. So it's very familiar to me."

Now people in the Rolling Bay neighborhood may become more familiar with Hawk.

Members of the U.S. House of Representative are mulling H.R. 955, a bill that will designate the Rolling Bay Post Office building the "John 'Bud' Hawk Post Office." The designation would not change addresses.

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee of Bainbridge Island, will dedicate a plaque and the name of the building to honor Hawk, a decorated World War II serviceman.

"It's a small plaque to honor an amazing man," Inslee spokesperson Torie Brazitis said.

HR 955 emerged from conversations Inslee had with Bainbridge community members about honoring Hawk, Brazitis said. The plaque and a dedication ceremony would be paid for through a special U.S. Postal Service fund.

Hawk was instrumental in destroying two enemy tanks and helped force the surrender of more than 500 enemy combatants from the Falaise Pocket in France in 1944. He was injured in the action.

Hawk received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman. In 2007, he earned France's Legion of Honor award.

"I'm staggered," said Hawk of the proposed post office honor. "It's one of those things that keep coming back to you."

Hawk is a 1943 graduate of Bainbridge High School. Two weeks after graduation he joined the Army and, after training, was involved in the European campaign.

Rolling Bay residents are just beginning to hear about the potential name change.

"As long as it keeps the spirit of the place I'm happy with it," said islander Sheila Lyon who has been using the office for the past 30 years.

Hawk said he plans to make a visit to reminisce on memories and introduce himself at the office.

"I intend to get over there to drive by and introduce myself to the postmaster," Hawk said. "I don't want it to be a surprise to her."

Read a 2005 Review feature detailing Hawk's career and his visit to a BHS homecoming celebration. The text of HR 955 can be found below.

H. R. 955

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