Hundreds of veterans of the Second World War are dying every day. All this week, we're remembering some of them who've died this year. Today, Herman J. Boudreau. The Maine native died in April at age 93. Boudreau served in the Army in New Zealand and the South Pacific, where he spent more than two years fighting the Japanese.

NANCIE SMITH: He was removing the last Japanese resistance on three occupied islands and had to secure an airfield.

BLOCK: Nancie Smith is his daughter.

SMITH: As they were clearing the airfield, they became under fire. And he ran towards where everybody was, and someone said, hey, Boudreau, you're bleeding. And he said, what? And he looked down and his arm was bleeding. And a bullet had gone through and through his upper arm.


On another occasion, she says, her father was guiding tanks in combat when communications broke down.

SMITH: One of the tanks got lost in the jungle, and they were under really heavy fire. And there used to be, I guess, a phone on the back of the tanks. And he ran through the jungle, found the tank and grabbed the phone in the back to talk to the driver, but the phone wasn't working.

So he took the butt of his rifle and banged on the tank until they turned the turret towards him and looked and saw that it was him. And he kept pointing follow me, follow me. He said that they were under heavy fire. He said he can remember the pinging off the tanks. And he said it sounded like little firecrackers constantly going off. He says, how I never got hit is beyond me.

SIEGEL: When he came home from the war, Boudreau signed up with the Maine Army National Guard, rising to command sergeant major. He retired in 1967. He also served as a sergeant in the Maine State Police and was chief of police for the town of Freeport.

SMITH: His whole life was about service.

BLOCK: That's Nancie Smith talking about her father, Herman J. Boudreau, a World War II veteran who died last month at age 93. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and a Silver Star.



Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.