Hawk was a World War II veteran, as well as a recipient of the Medal of Honor, which is the highest U.S. military decoration. In August of 1944, near Chambois, France, Sergeant Hawk and his squad had to build a working weapon from two damaged guns. Despite being wounded, Hawk climbed to an exposed area and acted as a target for the enemy. He ran back and forth between the tanks of his squad and his position until two of the enemy tanks were knocked out and the third surrendered. Hawk spent two years serving in the U.S. Army, and received four Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) from the United Kingdom, in addition to the Medal of Honor.
Hawk attended the University of Washington in 1945 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biology. He worked for more than 30 years as a principal and teacher in the Central Kitsap School District, beginning his career at Tracyton Elementary and eventually transferring to Brownsville Elementary and becoming the principal, before retiring.