Bernard F. DuChateau - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Bernard F. DuChateau




Bernard entered the U.S. Navy in February of 1941, when he enlisted for a six year term. He arrived at Pearl Harbor in May of 1941 and was assigned to the USS Dale 353. He had just finished eating breakfast and was visiting with some other fellow crewmen on the ammunition locks on the fantail when the bombing occurred. As they were sitting on the fantail they could see planes coming in from Pearl City, at first they thought they were reinforcement planes and then they saw the red ball and realized they were Japanese planes. "When the attack began I took the role as a first shell man on gun one, I put the shells in the gun and commenced firing at Japanese aircraft. As the attack was happening I could see my fellow crewmen running for their guns and scrambling to release the mooring lines so that the USS Monaghan could get underway and out to sea. After we launched the Monaghan we had trouble with the main drive shaft and were forced to go back to port for repairs and supplies. After we left port we were out at sea for 58 days before we could return to land. When we finally got back to land we were able to stay at the Royale Hawaiian for 1 night for 25 cents."

The USS Dale went to Bouganville on February 20, 1942 and then was sent to the Aleutian Islands on March 26, 1943. "At Komandorski Island we took on 2 light cruisers, 2 heavy cruisers and 6 Japanese destroyers, we had only 1 light cruiser, 1 heavy cruiser and 4 destroyers and were out numbered 2 to 1, we battled for 3 and a half hours exchanging fire. Our ship, the USS Dale, was laying smoke screens to protect the cruiser Salt Lake City." The USS Dale, along with the 4 destroyers were ordered to torpedo attack the Japanese ships. We could hear the shells whizzing past us. Our captain said, ‘We are knocking the hell out of her topside, but we may not be sinking her.' Our ship was hit and we began sinking. The water temperature was 33 degrees and we went in without life jackets because we didn't have time to put them on.

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