S1c Jack Claudius Hazdovac,
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S1c Jack Claudius Hazdovac
Jack Claudius Hazdovac and two boyhood friends — cousins Michael Criscuolo and Tom Trovato — were killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The three grew up in the Oak Grove neighborhood of Monterey, California. They attended Monterey Union High School.
One by one, they enlisted in the Navy and were together on the U.S.S. Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941.
Mr. Hazdovac was a seaman first class.
Born April 19, 1920 in Monterey, he was the son of Peter Hazdovac, a Croatian immigrant, and Mamie Nielsen Hazdovac, a native Californian.
The 1930 Census said the father owned a restaurant. By 1940, the Census said he managed the Kimball Hotel, where his wife and son Jack both worked as desk clerks.
Jack Hazdovac was a member of the dramatics class in high school and graduated in 1938. News articles in the local paper told of his participation in softball, basketball, bowling, and golf. He was the boys winner in a 1937 hole-in-one contest by landing a ball 14 inches from the cup. His prize was a $5 golf pass from the city of Pacific Grove. That same summer he placed sixth in the half-mile open water swim carnival at Pacific Grove. He enlisted in the Navy in August 1940.
Years after his uncle’s death, John Hazdovac told a reporter that in Seaman Hazdovac’s last letter home he told his mother “not to worry about him, that he was on the biggest battleship in the biggest navy in the world.”
His parents received notice from the Navy in late January 1942 that he was “lost in action,” but they continued to hold out hope that in the chaos of war, the message was wrong. “Because of this confidence that their son is still alive, it is requested that friends omit expressions of sympathy and condolence until more definite word of the fate of the Monterey youth is received here,” the Monterey Peninsula Herald reported.
At least one of his brothers, Peter, served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II and survived.
Sources: California birth record; Navy muster roll; Census; The Californian of Salinas; the Monterey County Herald; Monterey Union High yearbook photograph.This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.