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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 131X, USS Randolph (CV-15)
Service Years
1941 - 1945

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember MINARIK, Harry (Dr.), LT.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Sanford, Seminole, Florida
Last Address
Salem, Virginia

Date of Passing
Mar 19, 2015
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback US Naval Reserve Honorable Discharge Order of the Golden Dragon

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Lieutenant Harry Joseph Minarik, USNR WWII
Naval Aviator, Awarded the Navy Cross
Torpedo Squadron VT-16, USS Randolph CV-15

Salem, Virginia: Navy Cross veteran Harry Minarik dies at 94.

WWII veteran and Salem doctor Harry Minarik remembered for his generosity.
--  By Tiffany Holland

Harry was a giver.

That is the best way George Snead can describe his friend Dr. Harry Minarik, who died last week in Salem, 19 March 2015.

He gave to his wife, his children, his patients, his church and his city. But most importantly, he gave to his country. Although he was a quiet and stoic man who rarely spoke of his time as a combat pilot in World War II, much of Minarik’s legacy comes from his heroism during the war, for which he was awarded the Navy Cross, one of the military’s highest honors.

Minarik was 94 when he died, leaving behind three children and his wife of almost 70 years. His funeral was held Tuesday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salem, where he rarely missed a Sunday.

Many people in Salem remember Minarik's 35 years as a general practitioner. Snead recalls that Minarik was one of the few doctors in town and how he would even make house calls in the middle of the night. He estimated that Minarik delivered about 700 babies during his years as a doctor.

People in other parts of the world knew Minarik for his time as a pilot in WWII.

Minarik, who was from Sanford, Florida, joined the Navy in 1941 after the Pearl Harbor attack. In a letter describing his time in the Navy that is now at the Salem Museum and Historical Society, Minarik said he possessed a “desire to fly” and already had his pilot’s license, so he became a pilot.

On July 24, 1945, Minarik was piloting a torpedo bomber plane assigned to take down a Japanese battleship.

"Pressing home an aggressive attack against a hostile battleship-carrier in the Kure Naval Base, Lt. Minarik succeeded in scoring a direct hit and near misses despite intense and accurate antiaircraft fire, thereby contributing materially to the destruction of the hostile vessel," according to a letter from the secretary of the Navy. Minarik was awarded the Navy Cross for his efforts that day and won numerous other honors for his time in battle.

He was honorably discharged in 1945. Three days later he married his wife, Jackie, whom he called the love of his life in his letters. After the war, they moved to Salem on a whim, and he set up his practice.

Snead, who was also a WWII veteran, said Minarik was a “God-fearing Christian,” and much of his life centered around the church. The two men met at church and became close friends of more than 60 years. Snead was more of a talker and loved to brag on his friend, who hated attention. Minarik never felt like he did anything heroic, Snead said. Whenever he referred to his time during WWII, Minarik would just say, "We did what we had to do."

Salem Museum Director John Long keeps documents about Minarik at the museum and had asked him to speak at the opening of the museum’s Veteran’s Plaza.

"I don’t know of a WWII vet more highly decorated in Salem," he said.
Other Comments:
Harry grew up in Sanford, Florida. After three years at Stetson University in Deland he planned to attend medical school, but the looming threat of war made that unlikely. He entered the Civilian Pilot Training program and earned a Private Pilot’s license in September 1941. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the Navy sent him to Atlanta for primary flight training, where he flew the Stearman. He was commissioned an Ensign on 31 August 1942, and received his wings as a Naval Aviator on 21 September 1942. After the war Harry completed medical school at Emory University. He then moved to Salem, Virginia where he opened a practice as a family physician.

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Naval Astronaut Wings

 Duty Stations
NAS AtlantaSchool Assignments - StaffNaval Station, Great Lakes, ILNAS Miami, FL
US NavyUSS Randolph (CV-15)
  1941-1942, NAS Atlanta
  1942-1942, 139X, Naval Flight Schools
  1942-1943, 139X, Naval Station, Great Lakes, IL
  1943-1943, 139X, NAS Miami, FL
  1943-1944, 131X, Carrier Air Group 16 (CVG-16)
  1944-1945, 131X, USS Randolph (CV-15)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Pacific Air Offensive (1942-45)
 Colleges Attended 
Stetson UniversityEmory School of Medicine
  1937-1940, Stetson University
  1946-1948, Emory School of Medicine
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jul 14, 2016, General Photos1
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