Louisiana loses its last Pearl Harbor survivor, a former Baton Rouge resident
CHURCH POINT - Funeral services are set for Saturday for Joseph W. Richard, Louisiana's last Pearl Harbor survivor, who died Wednesday at the age of 100.
Richard was just 17 years old when he volunteered to join the U.S. Navy. He was on the USS Rigel when Japanese bombers flew over the ship and attacked the Hawaii naval base.
Richard worked frantically to free those trapped inside the wreckage of the USS Oklahoma and USS Arizona.
"It'll make a man out of you," he said of the experience in a 2016 interview. "It made a man out of me... I wasn't no boy no more."
He continued in service to his country, through the Korean War and retiring as a Shipfitter 1st Class after nearly 12 years in the Navy.
Richard then worked at industrial plants in Baton Rouge, and opened a service station on Airline Highway. He returned to his hometown of Sunset, in St. Landry Parish, to run a welding shop and iron ornamental works.
Richard will be remembered during services set to take place at Guidry Funeral Home in Church Point.
Visitation began Friday morning.
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