Eugene Hatch

Sailor, Injured in Pacific Engagement, Home on Leave
Navy fliers are the best in the world, and North Atlantic patrol service was more exciting than active service with the Pacific fleet, Leonard J. Hatch, 24, Gunner's Mate, Second Class, declares.

Enlisted in January, 1939 
Hatch, who enlisted in the Navy in January 1939, when he failed to gain appointment to the Annapolis Naval Academy, is in Eau Claire on 30- days leave, after discharge from a West Coast naval hospital, where he was treated recently for injuries incurred in a "Pacific engagement." 

He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. William Hatch, Route 3, Fall Creek. His two brothers are also in service, Eugene, 20, is a Storekeeper, Second Class in the Navy and Monroe, 22, is in the Army Air Corps. 

Hatch, who returned recently with his wife, formerly Miss Katherine Jopke of 302 First Avenue, is due to report for duty at Mare Island Navy Yard on August 17. Hatch and Miss Jopke were married December 29, 1941 at South Mills, North Carolina, moving to San Francisco when his ship, the USS Mississippi, was transferred to the Pacific fleet.  

Has Three Ribbons 
Hatch wears three ribbons, each of which represents a medal. One is a campaign ribbon for participation in North Atlantic patrol duty; another, a National Defense Ribbon "for having been in hostile waters, prior to this country's formal participation in the war; and a Good Conduct Ribbon, which signifies a perfect record during his first  three years of service.  

Discussing his active service, Hatch, who observed a certain reticence in line with censorship requirements, said his six months patrol service in the North Atlantic, during which he crossed the Arctic Circle, was the most exciting and hazardous of his Navy experience. 

Says U. S. Pilots Best 
Referring to the air fighters, Hatch said he had seen German, Japanese, British and U. S. Army and Navy planes in action and that the latter pilots are "best in the world." 

"The Japs are pretty good,"' Hatch related, referring to the Pacific engagement, "but our pilots are better." 

During his service, Hatch has touched many North Atlantic European ports, as well as many in the Pacific. 

After preliminary training at Great Lakes, Hatch was assigned to a battleship and went aboard at Bremerton, WA. Later, he was transferred to another vessel, on which he served some time, and was then returned to the battleship. 

Anti-Aircraft Batteries 
He was promoted to Gunner's Mate, Second Class, last March. His command is composed of two 12-man anti-aircraft batteries, and his specific responsibility in time of battle is to see that fuses are set properly to coincide with the range given the batteries by higher officers. The guns are large caliber with long-range and can be fired very rapidly, Hatch said. 

Several other Eau Claire men are also serving on the same battleship, Hatch said. Among them are his brother, Eugene; Frederick Rudd, whose parents live at 921 1/2 Forest Street, also a Gunner's Mate, Second Class; and Robert Olson, a Gunner's Mate, Third Class. Henry Meyer, who lived on Starr Avenue, here, was recently transferred to another vessel.

Hatch's vessel crossed the equator in1940, he related, and the Arctic Circle in 1941, as shown by an engraved certificate provided by the Navy.

"Now, if I can make the Antarctic Circle this year, I'll have 'em all," he remarked.

Although he has visited many ports in many climes, Hatch is firmly of the opinion that, as far as climate and scenery are concerned, Wisconsin still "has 'em all beat."