North High School Wall of Honor
Jack Allen Novak
Class of Summer, 1943
Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953.
Jack Allen Novak
Jack Allen Novak graduated from North High in the Summer, 1943 class. His next of kin was shown as __________living at ______ Des Moines, IA. In August, 1943, Jack enlisted at Camp Dodge in the US Marines, 5th Marine Division. Service number was _________.
Jack Allen Novak
Year x Rank/Event x Status
Summer, 1943 x Graduated x Went to North. Then transferred to West High. Received diploma from North in August, 1943.
August, 1943 x Enlisted
US Marines
x Camp Dodge, IA. US Marines; 5th Marine Division
Ocober, 1943 x US Marine Corps x San Diego training.
February 19, 1945 x US Marine Corps x 5th Marine Divison. Landed at Iwo Jima's Red Beach, February 19, 1945.
March 19, 1945. x US Marine Corps x Wounded. Evacuated to Hawaii.
date x US Marine Corps x Occupational force in Kyoto, Japan
date x US Marine Corps x Discharged where and when?
date x Schooling x Where and when?
1955-1989 x Family x Married to Eileen McVicker
1960-1965 x Employment x Branch Manager at Grass Valley Savings, Yuba, City, CA
1965-1976 x Employment x Assistant VP; United Financial
1976-1987 x Employment x Purchased and operated insurance company in Whittier, CA
1991 x Family x Married Judy Ann Harlan
date x Family x Retired and living in Albany, OR
February 10, 2012 x Deceased x Albany, OR. Burial at Willamette Memorial Park
5th Marine Division:
The 5th Marine Division was activated on Armistice Day, 11 November 1943. The division's Headquarters Battalion officially began operating at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton on 1 December, at which time men and equipment began streaming into Camp Pendleton. The official activation date for the Division was 21 January 1944. The division had a solid core of combat veterans from the beginning however there were many issues raising the total required number of Marines as the Marine Corps also had to provide combat replacements to other divisions and staff the newly formed 6th Marine Division also.[1] Among the personnel forming the new division were Marines from the former 1st Marine Parachute Regiment, the Raider Training Battalion, the Parachute Training School, West Coast, and the Parachute Replacement Company.
Parts of the division began to deploy overseas to act as the reserve force during the Battle of Guam where they were not needed. Because of this they were sent to Camp Tarawa near Hilo, Hawaii for further training. After more extensive training the division loaded ships and left Hawaii in January 1945. By mid-February they were sailing past Saipan headed for Iwo Jima

Marines of 5th Marine Division on Red Beach, Iwo Jima 19 February 1945.The division landed on Iwo Jima on February 19. They landed on the left northeast of Mount Suribachi and sustained heavy initial losses so much so that by that afternoon the 26th Marines had to be released as the division reserve.[2] The 5th Marine Division would fight on Iwo Jima from February 19 until March 18 where they would sustain 1,098 killed in action and 2,974 wounded in action. This was the highest casualty rate amongst the Marine divisions involved in the invasion. The 5th Marine Division began loading onto ships on March 18 and finally left Iwo Jima on March 27, 1945 sailing for Hawaii.[3]

On March 21, 1945 the 5th Marine Division Cemetery was formally dedicated on Iwo Jima. Chaplains prayed, Major General Keller E. Rockey added a tribute to the dead and Lieutenant Roland B. Gittelsohn, U.S. Navy and a 5th Division chaplain, spoke of friends buried and "the ghastly price of freedom...." The flag was raised then lowered to half-mast. Taps was played echoing across the dark foreboding ash of Sulfur Island.
Iwo Jima became an important support and emergency landing field for aircraft based out of the Marianas. In recognition of the 5th Marine Division's sacrifice in securing the island, the US Army Air Corps 9th Bombardment Group named a B-29 "The Spearhead", with elaborate nose art depicting the Division's insignia and the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi.
The 5th Marine Division returned to Camp Tarawa, Hawaii and remained there until the end of the war. After the Japanese surrender they set sail for Japan where they occupied the southern island of Kyushu. The division left Japan in November 1945 and arrived in San Diego, California the week of Christmas 1945. The majority of the division's Marines were discharged shortly thereafter the division was deactivated on February 5, 1946.
Landed at Red Sector near Mt. Suribachi
February 19, 1945

US Marine Corps

Jack Allen Novak
5th Marine Division
US Marine Corpa

Jack Allen Novak

5th Marine Divison (Dark Company)

Purple Heart
Obituary for Jack Allen Novak
Jack Allen Novak, 87, passed away Friday, 02/10/12, at Lydia’s house (home care).
He was born in Des Moines, Iowa, to Ralph and Eva (Dorsey) Novak. He graduated from North High in Des Moines where he participated in music and basketball. He accepted Jesus on the battlefield and served our Lord quietly in various capacities throughout his life.

He joined the Marine Corps and served in Iwo Jima as a member of the “Dark Company.” He lasted 30 days into the campaign until wounded and evacuated to Hawaii. He then served as part of occupational force in Kyoto, Japan, until returning home. After his time in the service he worked for his father painting houses while in college. He then worked as a branch manager at Grass Valley Savings in Yuba City, Calif., from 1960 to 1965; served as assistant vice president at United Financial from 1965 to 1976. In 1976 he an purchased insurance agency in Whittier, Calif.; he sold the agency in 1987 to pursue other interests.

He was married to Eileen McVicker from 1955 to 1989. The couple raised two sons: Kirk and Brian.
In 1991 he married Judy Ann Harlan. Jack was a devoted husband and father, and raised his boys to be men. He had a big heart, quick wit, patience and truly cared for others.

Jack is survived by his wife, Judy Novak of Albany; son Kirk R. Novak, wife Sheri of The Woodlands, Texas, and their sons Alex and Peter; and son Brian K. Novak, wife Dayna of La Habra Heights, Calif., and their sons David, Daran and Daniel.

A viewing will be from 4 to 6 p.m. today at AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home. A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home with burial to follow at Willamette Memorial Park.
The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at Jack Allen Novak's class page can be viewed at

2011: Lived in Albany, OR. Died 02/10/12.

Music: "Semper Fidelis"
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