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Stories of Sacrifice

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Interim 1920 - 1940 - U.S. Navy

Henry Breault

Details
  • Rank: Torpedoman Second Class
  • Conflict/Era: Interim 1920 - 1940
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S. Submarine 0-5
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 28, 1923
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Limon Bay, Canal Zone, Panama
Citation

For heroism and devotion to duty while serving on board the U.S. submarine 0-5 at the time of the sinking of that vessel. On the morning of 28 October 1923, the 0-5 collided with the steamship Abangarez and sank in less than a minute. When the collision occurred, Breault was in the torpedo room. Upon reaching the hatch, he saw that the boat was rapidly sinking. Instead of jumping overboard to save his own life, he returned to the torpedo room to the rescue of a shipmate who he knew was trapped in the boat, closing the torpedo room hatch on himself. Breault and Brown remained trapped in this compartment until rescued by the salvage party 31 hours later.

Medal of Honor Recipient Henry Breault
Medal of Honor Recipient Henry Breault
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Vermont
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: March 8, 1924

    The White House, presented by Pres. Calvin Coolidge

  • Born: October 14, 1900, Putnam, Windham County, CT, United States
  • Died: December 5, 1941, Newport, RI, United States
  • Buried: St. Mary's Cemetery (MH) (Old-691), Putnam, CT, United States
From the CMOHS Archives

Additional information comes from Navy General Orders 125, dated 20 February 1924:

"At 6.24 on the morning of 28 October 1923, the O-5 collided with the S.S. Abangarez, and sank in less than a minute. When the collision occurred Breault was in the torpedo room. Upon reaching the hatch he saw that the boat was rapidly sinking. Instead of jumping overboard to save his own life he returned to the torpedo room to the rescue of a shipmate whom he knew was trapped in the boat, closing the torpedo-room hatch on himself. With the aid of Brown, the member of the crew who was trapped, Breault closed the water-tight door between the forward battery compartment and the torpedo room. By the time this was accomplished the board had sunk in 40 feet of water, with every compartment flooded except the torpedo room. Breault and Brown remained trapped in this compartment until rescued by the salvage party, 31 hours later."

 

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