LINDEN, NJ — The Linden High School Navy Junior Officer Reserve Training Corps honored veterans, active duty soldiers, reserves, national guard forces and their families with a celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 11.
The event included the ceremonial Navy cutting of the cake. The U.S. Navy was founded on Oct. 13, 1775 by an act of the Continental Congress. As the Navy has grown, it’s created its own traditions, including one around its birthday.
The Linden High School NJROTC birthday cake is cut by the most senior Veteran in attendance and the most junior cadet at the same time. The most senior Veteran in attendance was John Kuhtik, a World War II Veteran and the most junior cadet was C/SA Emmanuel Acosta. Veteran John Kuhtik was enlisted in the United States Navy on July 14, 1944 at 18-years-old.
He was assigned to CVE-107, USS Gilbert Islands and served in combat in the Pacific Theater. He was a gunners mate third class and crewed a 5-inch gun. He and his crew were involved in action off Okinawa, Japan, and also Leyte, Philippines. The toughest part of his service was the operations off Okinawa dealing with kamikaze pilots intent on destroying aircraft carriers such as the USS Gilbert Islands. He was honorably discharged from the USN in August, 1946.