Marines honor Derouen with flag pole in Erath park
By Chris Rosa
ERATH - Conrad “Snookie” Derouen did a lot of playing on the grounds where now stands a flag pole and monument in his honor.
On Saturday, a special ceremony was held at the Erath City Park to dedicate a flag pole that was constructed in honor of Derouen, who was killed in World War II in 1944.
At 21 years old, Derouen volunteered for service in the U.S. Marine Corps and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at Quantico, Virginia. From there he was sent to Camp Pendleton, Oregon, then overseas to the Asiatic Theatre. He was involved in the Battle of Saipan, when he received wounds that led to his death. He died on July 17, 1944. Derouen had been overseas only seven months at the time of his death. He was buried at sea and received the Navy Cross.
On April 9, 1945, both Derouen’s widow and mother traveled to New Orleans to receive the Navy Cross from Rear Admiral A. C. Bennett. The event was held at the headquarters of the Eighth Naval District in the Federal Building. He was posthumously awarded the Naval Cross for Gallantry in action.
Orris Belanger, a former Marine, wanted to do something special to remember Derouen. For the last year, he has been collecting money from former Marines to help pay for a flag pole and a monument.
Saturday his wish came true when the American flag was hoisted.
The American flag was donated by Delcambre’s Woodmen Lodge 523 and Ranger Lodge 7.
Belanger said the flag pole was placed in the park because Derouen’s family owned a house on the grounds that are now the city park.
The Snooks Relays is an Erath High track and field meet named in honor of Derouen.