February 6, 2013 - Francis Richard - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Hometown Patriot: Feb. 6, 2013 - Francis Richard

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Francis Richard began his military career in the U.S. Marines during World War II. He remembers boarding a crowded Merchant Marine ship for a 27-day cruise from San Diego to New Caledonia.

"We had two meals a day," recalled Richard. "One before daylight in the morning. And one after dark at night. Both of them together wouldn't be enough for one meal."

As his unit headed toward the action in the Pacific Theater, Richard said their final destination was kept secret.

"We didn't know where we were going. They didn't call that island Guadalcanal. Because we didn't want the Japanese to know we're going there. The code for Guadalcanal was Cactus," he said.

Once they arrived at Guadalcanal, Richard said they were attacked by six Japanese bombers.

"About the time they were straight overhead, we heard the God awful noise and we knew something was happening. Somehow, we found a trench and we dove in that thing and bombs began to fall," he said.

The 33-year Marine veteran loves to share stories of the war with his grandson, when he visits from Texas.

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