Navy veteran recounts service overseas

Courtesy photo Jim Warnica, second row, second from left, with his CIC unit after returning from Okinawa, Japan in 1946.

By Jared Tucker: Cannon Connectiosn staff writer

Jim Warnica was enlisted in the Navy Reserve from 1944 to 1946.

When were you born, and where? July 31, 1926 in Clovis. We lived in Portales, but there was no hospital in town at that time.

What’s one of the most memorable things you remember about your time in the Navy? We were at Tokyo when they signed the surrender of the Japanese, and we got to see all the dignitaries get in boats and go out to the (USS) Missouri to sign it. And mail call. I loved getting mail.

Did you ever see any combat? We were at Okinawa for two and a half months. We went back to the Philippines for rest and relaxation, and was there when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. Within a few days afterward, we headed back to Manila Bay.

What is your least favorite memory while in the Navy? We were in the midst of battle, and I was being operated on for appendicitis. Fortunately we were on a big enough ship that had doctors who could do it. I walked in, got up on the table, they gave me a (shot) and went to work. Then afterwards, I got a cussing for not helping myself off the bed fast enough.

Why only two years in the Navy? I was in the Naval Reserve, you know. You just went in, and when the war was over, they got you out and quick as they could.

What made you decide to enlist in the Navy Reserve? All my friends were already enlisted. I hitch-hiked to Albuquerque to sign up. Then after waiting a few weeks, they called me.

What did you do in the Navy? I ran a radar. I remember one day my radar screen picked up a fast moving object, that didn’t look like a plane. It was moving faster than any plane could fly. This was before UFO’s were known about.

Do you have any family in the military? Not any of my children, but my father, Jim Warnica, Sr. was a WWI veteran.

Do you have any children and grandchildren? What are their names and ages? My wife is Helen, she’s 82 years old; daughter Terry, 55; son Jimmy is 59. I also have four grandkids, and six great-grandkids.