LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) — Marshall John LaFleur, 95 of Lafayette pays tribute to fellow service members.
“It’s completely different now. I retired in 1967. That was 54 years ago,” Lafleur said.
“I just want to say it’s a tribute to all my fellow service members,” Lafleur said. “Most of them have gone to see the Supreme Commander. At 95, I don’t know any of my peers still going.
Lafleur was born in Grand Prairie and raised on a share cropper’s farm.
He says he joined the Navy two days before being required to register for the draft.
“I was about to be drafted. I asked my dad to sign the consent papers so I can volunteer before the draft; and I could choose my service. I wanted to go into the Navy.”
Lafleur made his way to Lafayette to join and boarded a train for San Diego for training.
That was the start of a 23 year Navy career on eight different ships.
“The first ship I put into commission was in Boston in October 1944. From there we rode that thing through the Panama Canal and then the Philippines campaign that was going on there,” Lafleur stated.
Shortly there after, Lafleur noted that his ship was part of the invasion fleet in Okinawa.
“A Japanese submarine attacked us. They shot two torpedoes at us and they missed. One night the Japanese was sending these things all over the place. They just crashed the plane with a bomb on it into a ship. One tried to get us one night he just missed us,” Lafleur added.
In 1967, he made his way home to Louisiana to join his wife and three children.
He earned a Bachelors of Arts and Masters degree. He taught industrial arts at Sunset High.
“I even put three years on recruiting duty in New Iberia. I was recruiting boys and only one girl there,” Lafleur noted.
Lafleur tells KLFY News 10 that he’s satisfied with his life, his children and the fight he fought for his country.
“Yes I’m satisfied,” he said.
“I got to the point where I don’t know any of my peers still alive. I miss that,” Lafleur explained.