In Memory of
Paul John Du Pre U.S. Marines, Ret.
June 15, 1914 - May 30, 2013
At age 98, Colonel Paul J. Du Pré died on the 30th of May 2013 at his home in Port Hueneme. After serving thirty-three consecutive years in the Marine Corps, he retired on the East Coast and returned to California where he began his military service in 1940 before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
He had a wide variety of assignments in the Marine Corps, mainly Light Artillery, Infantry, Staff Duties and service aboard ships. He served in a number of ships ranging from the Battleship USS NEW JERSEY, the light aircraft carrier POINT CRUZ, on an Admiral's Staff in USS ELDORADO, to diving in the submarine USS QUEENFISH, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter CITRUS breaking ice off Point Barrow, Alaska, in 1955 and 1956.
Colonel Du Pré served his country in three wars and also saw hostile actions immediately after WWII in North China, where units of his Regiment were positioned near the base of the Great Wall.
While working in Hollywood's Motion Picture Industry, he had joined the Marine Corps Reserve and was undergoing training one evening each week. He was mobilized and was on active duty over a year before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In less than a month afterwards, his unit sailed into the Pacific where he served in the Pacific Islands for thirty-five consecutive months. He participated in Amphibious Assault Landings at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, and Tinian, from which he was evacuated to a Navy Hospital Ship, USS REPOSE. To help repair and remove scars from his war service he later underwent reconstructive surgery on three occasions.
After his service in China he served in the Korean War and later in the War in Vietnam. Among his forty-three decorations, awards, and Citations are two Purple Heart Medals (awarded for wounds inflicted by an enemy in battle) and ten Battle Stars (4 WWII, 4 Korea, 2 Vietnam).
On a rainy night, while descending a cargo net (climbing down the side of a ship) to enter an invasion Landing Craft, he fell from the net, landing on a pile of ammunition boxes in the Landing Craft. His back was injured, but he went on to make the landing. This injury later grew worse, necessitating major back surgery. The Navy Surgeon who performed the surgery advised that it would be helpful if he tried to swim as often as he could. This advice was taken seriously and in time Colonel Du Pré joined the American Red Cross Swim and Stay Fit Program. He continued swimming for a period of over forty years, accumulating over three thousand four hundred miles of certificated swimming. He used to say that he had swum across the United States and was working his way back.
Colonel Du Pré held a commercial Pilot's License to fly both Land and Sea Aircrafts. He very much enjoyed flying aircraft mounted on pontoons. He said it combined boating with flying.
His travels took him completely around the world, through fifty-six different foreign countries and numerous Pacific Islands. Among his more unusual modes of transportation were thick-coated Mandarin Pony in North China, camel in Egypt, and elephant in Thailand. At one time he was designated the U.S. Representative to the King of Morocco.
He received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Maryland along with a Certificate of Distinguished Scholarship. His post-graduate studies earned him certificates from La Sorbonne in Paris, France, and the University of San Francisco in Guadalajara, Mexico. He also attended a number of formal schools of the U.S. Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps. He spoke three languages and knew the amenities of at least eight other languages. He also held a Final Top Secret Clearance for the United States and one for NATO Countries.
After coming to Port Hueneme Colonel Du Pré underwent cancer surgery twice twenty years apart. Following the recovery the first time, he became a volunteer driver, transporting cancer patients to medical treatments using his own vehicle without compensation. When it became known he was conversant in Spanish, he was directed to homes of limited English speaking patients in order to help with doctors' instructions.
Later he was requested to operate a Ventura County vehicle transporting U.S. Veterans to Veterans' Administration Medical Treatment Facilities at Westwood (Sawtelle), Sepulveda, downtown Los Angeles VA Clinic on Hill Street, and VA Clinic in Santa Barbara. Colonel Du-Pré was also a volunteer worker at the CBC Naval Base in the Retired Activities Office.
He maintained his Marine Corps training for fitness throughout his life and was still able to wear uniforms made for him fifty years earlier.
His remains will be transported to Washington D.C., where he will be buried with his late wife of sixty-one years, in our National Cemetery at Arlington, and accorded military honors.
In lieu of flowers, his wishes are that, if predisposed to do so, assistance may be rendered to the Disabled Americans Veterans (of which he was a Life Member), and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, or the Blind American Veterans.