WWII sailor named Veteran of the Month

RAPID RIVER – Navy veteran, Carl W. Javenkoski, will be honored during a Veteran of the Month ceremony Tuesday at the Walter W. Cole American Legion Post 301 of Rapid River.

Patterned after a national program established by the American Legion, a new Veteran of the Month is honored each month in a formal service at the Legion. The program will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The son of Joseph and Sophie Javenkoski, the veteran was born on Feb. 12, 1924, in Three Lakes, Wis. He completed the twelfth grade at Three Lakes High School, graduating on May 7, 1942, and for the next six months, he worked for the American Steel Foundries in Indiana Harbor where earned the continued earnest cooperation and efforts of Army-Navy Product Award.

Javenkoski enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 2, 1943, and after six weeks of boot camp training at Great Lakes, Ill., he was sent to Boston, Mass., where he was assigned to the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Ranger as a gunner and storekeeper. Four months later, the ship joined the British Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, Scotland, where they patrolled the approaches to the British Isles.

The Ranger departed Scapa Flow on Oct. 2, and while serving on board, the crew entered the Northern Domain of the Polar Bear (Blue Nose) in the Arctic Circle where they joined a task-force of other ships. Javenkoski was presented with a certificate signed by Gordon Rowe, U.S.N. commanding officer while serving with the home fleet whose mission was to attack German shipping in Norwegian Waters.

The objective of the force was the Norwegian port of Bodd where one division of dive-bombers attacked the 8,000 ton freighter, LaRlata, while the rest continued north to attack a small German convoy. They severely damaged a 10,000 ton tanker and a smaller troop transport. They also sank two of the four small German merchantmen of the Bodo roadstead.

A second Ranger attack group of 10 Avengers and six Wildcats destroyed a German freighter and a small coaster, and bombed yet another troop-laden transport. Three Ranger planes were lost to anti-aircraft fire. On the afternoon of Oct. 4, Ranger was finally located by three German aircraft, but her combat air patrol shot down two of the enemy planes and chased off the third.

Ranger returned to Scapa Flow on Oct. 6, 1943, and patrolled with the British Second Battle Squadron n waters reaching to Iceland. They then departed Hvalfjord on Nov. 26, arriving in Boston on Dec. 4. On Jan. 3, 1944, Ranger became a training carrier out of Quonset Point, R.I. This duty was interrupted on April 20 upon arrival in Staten Island, N.Y., to load 76 P-38 fighter planes together with Army, Navy and French Naval personnel for transport to Casablanca. Arriving in Casablanca on May 4, Ranger unloaded Army aircraft destined for stateside repairs and embarked military passengers for the return to New York.

After arriving in New York, Ranger was fitted with a new type catapult, radar and associated gear that provided the ship with a capacity for night fighter interceptor training. Ranger departed for the Panama Canal in mid-July and embarked several hundred Army passengers at Balboa for transportation to San Diego, Calif., arriving on July 25.

For three months, Ranger conducted night carrier training operations out of Pearl Harbor and later trained pilots for combat duty, operating out of San Diego under Commander Fleet Air, Alameda, and continued training air groups and squadrons along the California coast throughout the remainder of the war.

The veteran served overseas until 1946 when he was discharged from the Navy on April 7 at Pensacola, Fla., with the rank of SK3.

For his military service, the veteran was awarded the American Area Ribbon, Victory Ribbon, Good Conduct Ribbon, European/African/Middle Eastern Ribbon with 1 Star.

Upon his discharge, Javenkoski obtained a bachelor’s degree from Purdue Extension University in Hammond, Ind., and was employed as an engineer (design) at the Harnischfeger Corporation in Milwaukee for 28 years before being transferred to Escanaba. He continued with the company for an additional five years before retiring in 1984. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Stonington, Gladstone Golf Club, Rapid River American Legion Post 301, and Harnischfeger Engineers Club.

Javenkoski met his wife, the former Lorna Baldwin, in Three Lakes, where she was vacationing with her parents, and they were married Feb. 10, 1951, in Milwaukee. The couple are the parents of four children: Lorna (David) Bewick; and Burton (Pam), William, and Mark Javenkoski.

Javenkoski died on Oct. 3, 2012, at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette where he had been a patient since 2007. Funeral services were held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stonington with military rites by Rapid River American Legion Post 301. He is buried at Lakewood Cemetery in Stonington.

In addition to his wife and children, Javenkoski is survived by: nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren; sister, Virginia (Bruce) Schaeffer; brothers, Joseph (Ann) and Roy Javenkoski; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Leona Briggs; and brothers, David and Clarence Javenkoski.

Nominations sought

Nominations are being sought for the Veteran of the Month program sponsored by Rapid River Legion Post 301. Program chairman, Dan Duncan, is seeking names for future honorees.

The program is open to all deceased honorably discharged veterans and those who died while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, and those who remain Missing In Action. There are no specific service dates for honoree eligibility. It is not mandatory that the honoree be a former resident of the community where the service are conducted. Out of town veterans are welcome.

For more information about the Veteran of the Month program or to nominate a deceased veteran, call Duncan at 233-9587.