Public Servant Herman Boudreau, Heroic Under Enemy Fire

Play associated audio

When Herman Boudreau joined the U.S. Army in 1941, he set in motion a lifetime of public service. Boudreau, who died in April at age 93, served in the Army in New Zealand and the South Pacific during World War II.

He spent more than two years fighting the Japanese, and years later shared many of his war experiences with his daughter, Nancie Smith. In one incident, she says, he had to secure an airfield while removing the last Japanese resistance on three occupied islands.

"As they were clearing the airfield, they [came] under fire," Smith recounts. "And he ran towards where everybody was, and someone said, 'Hey, Boudreau, you're bleeding!' ... He looked down and his arm was bleeding ... A bullet had gone through and through his upper arm."

On another occasion, Smith says, her father was guiding tanks in combat when communications broke down. One of the tanks lost its way in the jungle while under heavy fire, she says. Boudreau ran through the jungle and found the tank, but was unable to get the attention of the soldiers inside.

"So he took the butt of his rifle and banged on the tank until they turned the turret towards him and ... saw that it was him. He kept pointing, 'Follow me, follow me,' " Smith says. "They were under heavy fire, [and] he said he could remember the pinging off the tanks. He said it sounded like little firecrackers contrastingly going off. He said, 'How I never got hit is beyond me.' "

Boudreau was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and a Silver Star. He signed up with the Maine Army National Guard when he returned from the war, rising to command sergeant major, and retired in 1967. He also served as a sergeant in the Maine State Police and was chief of police for the town of Freeport.

"His whole life," Smith says, "was about service."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Verdine White On 45 Years With Earth, Wind & Fire

Forty-five years ago, the band “Earth, Wind and Fire” introduced audiences to a new kind of funk--one that fused soul, jazz, Latin and pop. Bassist Verdine White talks to guest host Derek McGinty about breaking racial boundaries in music and how the band is still evolving.

NPR

The Case Against The Shirley Temple (The Drink)

Author and cocktail enthusiast Wayne Curtis wrote an article called "Shirley Temples Are Destroying America's Youth." He talks about why he hates Shirley Temples — the drink, not the person.
WAMU 88.5

What's Ahead At The Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia, where Hillary Clinton will accept the presidential nomination.

NPR

Experimental Plane Sets Off On Final Leg Of Its Round-The-World Journey

It's the first time for a solar-powered plane to circumnavigate the globe. Now it's en route to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — and you can watch the journey in a live video from the cockpit.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.