Arsenault, Frederick Lawrence, SF1

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Last Rank
Petty Officer First Class
Last Primary NEC
Last Rating/NEC Group
Primary Unit
1942-1943, SF-5342, USS Brant (ARS-32)
Service Years
1942 - 1946
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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Arsenault, Frederick Lawrence, SF1.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Brewer, ME
Last Address
Wilmington, MA

Date of Passing
Dec 09, 1988
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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WW II Memorial National RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial
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 Duty Stations
US Navy
  1942-1943, SF-5342, USS Brant (ARS-32)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Algeria-French Morocco Campaign (1942)/Operation Torch
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Nov 04, 2014, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Frederick l. Arsenault was part of the Special Mission Naval Demolition Unitthat  later became the Naval Combat Demolition Unit A precussor to Special Warfare Underwater Demolotions Team and Today's Seals. 

It became apparent that in addition to the Scouts and Raiders, a group of specialists to destroy obstacles was required. In August 1942 at ATB, Little Creek, a specialized naval demolition team was formed with two officers and 17 enlisted men. They were led by Lieutenant Mark Starkweather (senior in command) and Lieutenant James Darroch. All were trained Navy salvage divers brought in from Hawaii. Their crash course included: demolitions, commando tactics, cable cutting, and rubber boat training. Their singular mission during Operation TORCH was to remove the cabled boom blocking the Wadi Sebou River, which spilled into the Atlantic Ocean along the west coast of French Morocco. Removal of this boom would allow USS Dallas (DD-199) to proceed up the river and train her guns on the Port Lyautey airdrome in preparation for attack by Army Rangers that were previously embarked aboard Dallas. 

The operation was launched just before H-Hour on 8 November 1942. The men operated at night from an open Higgins boat in very heavy seas and under direct enemy machine-gun fire. Several of the men were badly injured in the rough seas, and the first attempt was aborted. During a second attempt on the night of 9 November, they accomplished their task. Their mission was so demanding and critical to the success of the invasion that every demolition man in the operation was awarded the Navy Cross Medal. This special-mission naval demolition unit was disbanded once the men returned from Africa.
Other Comments:

Name of Award
Navy Cross

Year Awarded
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Shipfitter Second Class Frederick Lawrence Arsenault, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty as member of a demolition party attached to the U.S.S. BRANT (ARS-32), during the assault on and occupation of French Morocco from 8 to 11 November 1942. Assigned the extremely dangerous task of cutting through an enemy obstruction in order that the U.S.S. DALLAS could navigate up the Sebou River, Shipfitter Second Class Arsenault and his shipmates, on the night of 9 November proceeded with grim determination toward their objective. Despite the treacherous surf, he and his comrades skillfully and courageously accomplished their hazardous mission of cutting the cables at the mouth of the river, just as guns from the French fort opened fire. Countering the enemy's attack until out of range, Shipfitter Second Class Arsenault and the other members of his party, in spite of enormous breakers which battered their boat and washed one of the machine guns overboard, finally brought her back to safety. His throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: November 8 - 11, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Shipfitter Second Class
Division: U.S.S. Brant (ARS-32)
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