Goat Locker Plank Owner

CCM Harry Simoneaux USN Ret.

2003, 2004 and 2005 Plank Owner

Transferred to the Supreme Commander for final duty station 9/18/12

I was at Pearl harbor Dec. 7th, 1941. I had five ships in the 4 years in the war and I made chief in four years and my enlisted ended Nov 19,1945. I earned 8 medals, 1 Combat Ribbon with 2 silver and 3 bronze stars.

ARTICLE PUBLISHED SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2001 PENSACOLA News Journal Once left for dead, Harry Simoneaux saw 'lot of courage and guts' in war. The Navy destroyer was sinking fast. The USS Worden had just escorted troops to a small Japanese island in early 1943 and, upon departing, was ripped open by uncharted rocks and boulders in the perilous harbor. Chief Petty Officer Harry Simoneaux, like the rest of his shipmates, soon was swimming in the near-freezing water, saying prayers and mentally preparing himself to die. "It was so cold," said Simon- eaux, now 80 and residing in Warrington. "I had made my peace with the Lord and went under." He was on his way to death, he believed. Later, sailors from a nearby ship scoured the waters for survivors. They packed the dead onto a loading platform. Someone snatched a frozen Simoneaux from the water and plopped him on top of the body heap. "But someone saw my fingers move," Simoneaux said. "So they knew I still had life. Just barely though." It wasn't Simoneaux's first brush with death during World War II. The Louisiana native saw the first bombs fall on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Simoneaux was a damage control officer on the USS Whitney, docked in Pearl Harbor, on that fateful morning. It was nearly 8 a.m., and Simoneaux and others were clad in dress whites, getting ready to take a smaller vessel to shore to attend church services. "I saw airplanes coming over, and it looked like they were dropping sandbags," he said. "Then, the hangar blew up. All hell broke loose, and we hit the deck." During the attack, Simoneaux and others in the damage control unit were sent to a small vessel to help rescue members of the nearby USS Arizona, which already had sustained significant bomb damage in the harbor. But about 40 feet away from boarding the Arizona, the devil upped the ante. "We had to come from my ship to the Arizona, dodging bullets and bombs. I was just about to board when I saw a bomb go right into it," Simoneaux said. "It was destroyed. I just looked up to the Lord and said, 'Please spare me to live so I can go back and kill some Japanese.'" He was still in dress whites, watching the torpedoes fall from the air and the kamikaze pilots buzz above, leveling off for attack. "But they didn't look white anymore," he said of his pants and coat. "Everything was dark and black." Simoneaux survived, but he lost most of his hearing during the battles. He might not have killed any Japanese, but he was in Tokyo Harbor on Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms aboard the USS Missouri.

For his courage and sacrifice, Simoneaux was awarded three bronze stars, two silver stars and numerous other citations. "I saw a lot of courage and guts during the war," he said. "The war was so important, and our country depended on us being victorious. So we were going to fight whether we lived or died. And a lot of good men died." Simoneaux served on a handful of naval vessels during World War II and participated in 26 military campaigns, including Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, Midway, Okinawa and the Philippine Sea. "It was a time in my life I'll never forget," he said. "Because when you think of what was at stake, it was the most important time of our lives."