WWII (1943-46)

“Families At War” – Brothers in the Pacific

Memory from: Leo Goulet

Setting the Scene

Leo Goulet was aboard the KIDD from the time of her commissioning in April of 1943 to the end of the war in September of 1945. As can be seen in this interview with KIDD historian Fred G. Benton, Jr., Leo recalls that, like the fictional Ryan family in the motion picture Saving Private Ryan, the Goulet family had children scattered throughout Europe and the Pacific who answered the call to duty and went in harm's way.

The Recollection

Leo Goulet: There were five of us boys in my family [that] were in the service. We [the KIDD] took part, as I said, . . . this was Tinian and Saipan, I remember that one. And we were in the lagoon the night before the invasion took place. And on the following morning, we got up and we started bombarding the beach for the invasion, for the Marines to go in. I saw the first wave go in, ’cause we were that far from the bay, from the beach. And after it was secured, a month after, I got a letter from my mother telling me my brother Ted was in the first wave going in; the Marines. I didn’t know I was firing right over his head with a 5″/38. I had a brother with the 10th Army at Okinawa and I had a brother who was on . . . a troop transport. We were sent out to escortóthis was a “rest” sort of thingóbreak away from the main fleet to escort these troop transports, ’cause we had been with the main fleet so long. We were under attack one day and I saw some Japanese drop a torpedo headed right for the [troop transport], which my brother Bob was on. And they just managed to maneuver out of the way. I met most of my brothers out there in the Pacific. I had brothersóone of ’em in Europe, took part in the invasion of North Africa all the way to Germany; my oldest brother. I was second to the oldest in the family. There were two of us in the Navy, two of ’em in the Army, and one in the Marine Corps. And I had a brother went in the Korean War; the younger brother. So actually, six of us were in the service. Fred Benton: How did they all fare? Leo Goulet: Good. Very good. Fred Benton: Every one of you made it. That’s amazing. Your poor mother must have suffered with that many [in the service]. Leo Goulet: Well, she had those five stars in the window all through the war and prayed for us. Fred Benton: She did good praying, didn’t she? Leo Goulet: Yeah. Yeah. I guess she must have done a lot of good praying. Think we were all lucky. Very lucky. Very proud of what we did too. My father was very proud of me.

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