A quiet reverence cloaked the united statesMilwaukee on Thursday morning as Pearl Harbor survivor Robert Beaudreau braved a stiff breeze and regular drizzle to stroll up the gangplank and board the ship.
A mixture of sailors, veterans and native dignitaries paid their respects to the one survivor of the assault in attendance after a bell rang to announce his arrival. Beaudreau is ninety eight.
Cmdr. Ken Lieberman, commanding officer of the Milwaukee, saluted as Beaudreau stepped onto the flight deck of the littoral fight ship docked at Mayport Naval Station.
Beadreau survived the assault seventy six years in the past, however he was there Thursday to honor the sailors who weren’t so fortunate.
“It was a day I’ll always remember,” Beaudreau stated of Dec. 7, 1941, when he was an aviation chief machinist’s mate on the united statesWest Virginia.
To outlive he needed to crawl throughout the hawser line to get from the West Virginia to the united statesTennessee. Explosions blasted throughout, and the smoke was so thick he couldn’t see his arms.
“I want extra individuals knew the historical past of this nation,” Beaudreau stated after Thursday’s ceremony. “I’m proud to be a Pearl Harbor survivor.”
He’s attended the Pearl Harbor remembrance hosted by Fleet Reserve Department 290 every of the final seven years, however he stated this yr was the perfect he’s ever been to.
“I hope they’ll invite me again subsequent yr,” Beaudreau joked.
The department has hosted the custom in some type since 1966 and used to take ships out to sea to carry out wreath-laying ceremonies.
Organizers stated that custom ended years in the past because of the Navy’s busy schedule and since Pearl Harbor survivors have been getting older, making it onerous for them to deal with tough ocean circumstances.
The variety of dwelling survivors has steadily dropped, and Beaudreau has been the one visitor of honor the final two years.
However this yr was totally different as a result of the occasion passed off on the Milwaukee as an alternative of on the Fleet Reserve on Mayport Street. Members of the ship’s crew needed to scramble early within the day when the ceremony was moved from the open-air flight deck to the hangar bay due to the climate.
“It was an all-arms name, however we have been capable of set every little thing up in about 20 minutes,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Ingram stated. “That’s the way it works on this ship. It’s a small crew, however we’re one household.”
Ingram stated it was an honor to have the ability to host Beaudreau and different veterans, particularly as a result of the attendees…