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Local veteran recalls Pearl Harbor attack

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The annual commemoration of Pearl Harbor will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette, The event is free for any service man or woman who was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked U.S. forces on Dec. 7, 1941. Those interested in attending should call event host Bob Lowe at 288-6200.

By Bruce Brown

Flying low, with the element of surprise on their side, waves of Japanese dive bombers, bombers and fighters attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, signaling the start of U.S. involvement in World War II.

Staff Sgt. David Breedlove is 91 now, but he still has vivid memories of that fateful day in world history.

“I was at Schofield Barracks, where the first bombs fell in the war,” said Breedlove, who was in the Army serving in Hawaii when the attack began. “The Japanese knocked out six air bases before they got to

Pearl Harbor.

“We were aware of what was going on in the world, and we knew in time we would be involved, but we never dreamed it would be there. They hit us as a target of oportunity.”

Breedlove will be one of a dwindling number of Pearl Harbor survivors who will gather at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Petroleum Club for an annual event marking the attack.

The surprise attack truly took U.S. forces off guard, so much so that they weren’t equipped to fight back when the bombing began.

“Everything was locked up,” Breedlove said. “We had to break in to storage to get our weapons and return their fire. One plane was smoking as it went over us, and I never knew what happened to it until the 40th anniversary in 1981. I found out it crashed in Kola Kona Pass.”

The four infantry combat units were each assigned a sector of the island of Ouahu to patrol as martial law was quickly declared.

“The main trouble we had was with people turning their lights on,” Breedlove said. “If we went back a second time and the lights were still on, we were under orders to shoot them out. We didn’t have too much trouble with them after that.

“Messages came on the radio for people to follow every order of the military.”

Breedlove had enlisted in the Army at age 17 in 1939 and described himself as “a soldier, heart and soul.” He served more than 5 1/2 years in the Pacific theater, eventually fighting on 14 different islands and at one point “had been out of touch with civilization for one year.”

One such assignment was in the Philippines, by which time Breedlove was in a tank unit.

“We had to get the Japs out of the North Luzon plains,” he said, “or else they would have blocked all the rice and starved the Filipinos. We tore up a lot of towns. In one town we knocked out 60 of 66 tanks.

“We fought for 165 days with no relief.”

Breedlove had advanced to the rank of staff sergeant before taking a fateful furlough back to the United States. It was on that leave, while visiting his sister in Lake Arthur, that he met Laurie Martin, who has been his wife now for 65 years.

“When the war started,” Breedlove said, “I was 17 and she was 10. And, I had never heard of this part of the country.”

He’s been here ever since.


Written by demon53

December 7, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Real Views, william broussard. william broussard said: Local veteran recalls Pearl Harbor attack: […]

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