Henry Breault of Putnam




Henry Breault (October 14, 1900 – December 5, 1941) was a United States Navy sailor who received the Medal of Honor for his actions while serving aboard a US Submarine.

Breault was born in Putnam, Connecticut, on October 14, 1900. He enlisted in the British Royal Navy at sixteen years of age and, after serving under the White Ensign for four years, joined the U.S. Navy.

On October 28, 1923 Torpedoman Second Class Breault was a member of the crew of USS O-5 when that submarine was sunk in a collision in the Panama Canal. Though he could have escaped, Breault chose to assist a shipmate, and remained inside the sunken submarine until both were rescued more than a day later.




For his "heroism and devotion to duty" on this occasion, Henry Breault was awarded the Medal of Honor. He received his Medal of Honor from President Calvin Coolidge, in ceremonies at the White House, Washington, D.C., on March 8, 1924.

Following twenty years of U.S. Navy service, Breault became ill with a heart condition.He died at the Naval Hospital at Newport, Rhode Island, on December 4, 1941. He was buried in Saint Mary Cemetery in Putnam, Connecticut.

Citation: For heroism and devotion to duty while serving on board the U.S. submarine 0-5 at the time of the sinking of that vessel. On the morning of 28 October 1923, the 0-5 collided with the steamship Abangarez and sank in less than a minute. When the collision occurred, Breault was in the torpedo room. Upon reaching the hatch, he saw that the boat was rapidly sinking. Instead of jumping overboard to save his own life, he returned to the torpedo room to the rescue of a shipmate whom he knew was trapped in the boat, closing the torpedo room hatch on himself. Breault and Brown remained trapped in this compartment until rescued by the salvage party 31 hours later.
Medal presented by President Coolidge at the White House on 8 March 1924.