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. Although realizing that the ship was capsizing, as a result of enemy bombing and torpedoing, Tomich remained at his post in the engineering plant of the U.S.S. Utah, until he saw that all boilers were secured and all fireroom personnel had left their stations, and by so doing lost his own life .
Peter Tomich earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tomich worked as the Chief Watertender on the U.S.S. Utah. On the morning of December 7, the Utah was one of the first ships hit by Japanese fire. As the ship began to sink and capsize, Tomich stayed in the engineering plant and kept the boilers from exploding. He gave his life so other members of the crew could escape. Peter Tomich served in the Navy for 22 years. It was his life, and in a sense, his family. When Tomich's Medal of Honor was granted posthumously, he had no family to accept the honor. His medal remained unclaimed until 2006 when it was given to a cousin in Croatia.
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