In February, Historic City News was informed by Bill Korach, editor of The Report Card, that his publication, in conjunction with the Navy League of the United States, would award the 4th Annual Francesca Korach Battle of Midway Essay Contest.
The award is named for the late wife of The Report Card publisher Francesca Stencil Korach; whose father, CAPT Walter Stencil, USN saw action in 11 Pacific Battles included Pearl Harbor, and whose brother Craig, was a navy fighter pilot. Her brother Jay served on aircraft carriers.
“We gratefully acknowledge our judges, Mr. Will Fitzhugh, Publisher of the Concord Review, CAPT Jack Capra, USN, Mr. Richard Latture, Editor and Chief, The Naval Institute,” Korach told local reporters.
Three high school students received awards for their essays on Saturday June 13th at the Navy League’s Battle of Midway Commemorative Dinner; held at the Renaissance World Golf Resort in St. Augustine. The $1,000 grand prize, $500 second prize and $250 third prize were presented by Keynote Speaker, General John F. Kelly, USMC Commander, and U.S. Southern Command.
First prize winner was Robert “Bo” Schader, Creekside High School. Second prize went to Taylor Horton, University of Chicago Laboratory School, and the Third prize winner was Cadet Scott Cummings, Nease High School, and Navy Junior ROTC.
“My dad is my role model in life, and I am incredibly proud to be able wear his medals tonight,” St Augustine Mayor, Nancy Shaver, who attended the celebration, told Historic City News. “He was a career naval officer who retired as a captain. Dad was the recipient of the WWII submariner bronze star.”
The Battle of Midway is considered by historians to be the most important Naval Battle of the 20th Century. 73 years ago this month, numerically inferior American forces handed overwhelmingly superior Japanese forces a crushing defeat and turned the tide of battle in the Pacific.
Korach said he was grateful to the sponsors; The John and Linda Anderson Foundation, The Fred Richmond Foundation, The Navy League, The American Legion Post #37, Tom Gilbertson, and Ron and Nancy Birchall.