TPM2 HENRY BREAULT
U.S. Navy. Submarine Service
28 October 1923
On the morning of 28 October 1923, 0-5 was she collided with the United Fruit Company Steamship Abangarez off of Panama. The Boat sank in less than 60 seconds.
TPM2 Breault was in the torpedo room when the collision occurred and was outside the Boat when he noticed a fellow sailor trapped below.
Breault went back in the torpedo room to recover the other sailor but the onrushing water made it impossible to get him out.
He had the chance to get out, but his buddy would have drowned… so he closed the water tight doors trapping he and the other sailor in a pocket of air as the sub sank.
They remained trapped for 31 hours when a salvage party managed to get the bow of O-5 above the surfaced just long enough to rescue the 2 sailors.
Author’s Note: Pre-WW2 The Medal of Honor could be awarded for acts of heroism outside of enemy action. This is one of the few that I think rises to the same level of courage as the Combat Award.
Early Submariners faced a level of peril that few service members will ever see outside of Combat. This collision was the 2nd major disaster that occurred on 0-5 in less than 2 weeks. On Oct 18th a Battery fire Killed 3 crewmen including the Boat’s Skipper.