MSU Paducah honors World War II veteran

Senior Chief Engineman Irvis M. Jarreau Ret., stands in front of an exhibit in his honor at MSU Paducah, Feb. 10, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rachel Crowe.

Senior Chief Engineman Irvis M. Jarreau Ret., stands in front of an exhibit in his honor at MSU Paducah, Feb. 10, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rachel Crowe.

 

 

 

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Paducah held a ceremony honoring a local Coast Guard World War II veteran on Feb. 10.

 

Baton Rouge native, Senior Chief Engineman Irvis M. Jarreau Ret., was honored with a special exhibit inside MSU Paducah with pictures and certificates from his time in service.

 

“What an honor they bestowed upon me,” said Jarreau. “I cannot find the words to tell you how much this means to me. Today my emotions are so built up that I almost lost it several times and haven’t really grasped the whole thing yet. It’s indescribable. I didn’t do any more than anyone else.”

 

A plaque honoring Jarreau was also placed near the unit’s flagpole.

 

“The placement of the plaque near our flagpole is symbolic, because the flag pole is a metaphor of Senior Chief’s service,” said Cmdr. Mark Sawyer, commanding officer MSU Paducah. “Like this flag pole, Senior Chief Jarreau during his time of service stood strong and affixed in the face of danger and storms carrying our freedom and liberty on his shoulders as well as upholding our values for us today.”

 

Jarreau started his Coast Guard career on Aug. 4, 1942.

Cmdr. Mark Sawyer, commanding officer MSU Paducah, (left) stands with Senior Chief Engineman Irvis M. Jarreau Ret., at a ceremony honoring Jarreau's Coast Guard service, Feb. 10, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rachel Crowe.

Cmdr. Mark Sawyer, commanding officer MSU Paducah, (left) stands with Senior Chief Engineman Irvis M. Jarreau Ret., at a ceremony honoring Jarreau’s Coast Guard service, Feb. 10, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rachel Crowe.

 

After the completion of boot camp, he was assigned to the USS Joyce supporting the escort of merchant vessel convoys.

 

In late February, 1944, Escort Division 22 assembled, consisting of the Flagship USS Poole, as well as the USS Peterson, USS Harveson, USS Joyce, USS Kirkpatrick, and USS Leopold, all of which were manned by Coast Guard personnel. These were to help guard fast convoys between the United States and United Kingdom.

 

On the night of March 9, 1944, 400 miles south of Iceland, the Leopold, while investigating a radar target, was torpedoed amidships, and later broke in two and sank. The Joyce, four miles distant at the time, was designated rescue ship, rescuing 28 survivors. Then, on the morning of 16 April 1944, while taking her station in the convoy, the SS Pan Pennsylvania, one of the world’s largest gasoline tankers, was torpedoed and set aflame. After picking up thirty-one survivors, including the master, the Joycelocated the submarine U-550 by sonar and brought it to the surface with one pattern of eleven depth charges. The submarine’s guns were quickly subdued and the crew then abandoned and scuttled the submarine. Thirteen of the submarine’s company were picked up by the Joyce.

 

At the conclusion of the war, Jarreau was assigned to support resupply and rebuilding efforts on Japan. He was one of the few Americans that had the opportunity to experience the culture and state of Japan following the war.

 

His other duty stations included the Cutter Westwind, Cutter Ilex, Station Grand Isle, CG 83449, Cutter Sauk, Cutter Tuckahoe, the Cutter Halfmoon and other training sites as well as serving in the Second District in St. Louis.

 

After 20.5 years of faithful and dedicated service, Jarreau retired on June 1, 1963.

 

To this day, Jarreau vividly remembers his time in service. He recalls in detail each propulsion engine he worked on, how it operated, and on what ship.

 

“It gave me a different perspective,” said Jarreau. “It changed the course of my life. I was supposed to go into law enforcement behind my dad. I came in to serve 3 years, 6 months and 18 days and ended up serving over 20 because I found that I really liked it.”