Rear Admiral Louis Dreller:
WW I and WW II Veteran,
A Navy Engineer
by Seymour “Sy” Brody
Rear Admiral Louis Dreller was a Navy veteran of World War I and World War II. He was a Navy engineer, who also designed war ships.
He was born on March 6, 1897, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in June 1918, and at the same time, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy for only engineering duty.
Dreller stayed in the Navy after World War I and received the permanent rank of a Lieutenant Junior Grade on July I, 1920, and through the years he was promoted. He became a Rear Admiral in 1943.
Dreller was a Naval officer aboard the U.S.S. Indianapolis, a heavy cruiser which was the flagship of the Pacific Fleet. His wife and two daughters, age ten and the other was a teenager, were living on Oahu, Hawaii.
In a "Guest Commentary", written for the Santa Monica Daily Press by Doris Sosin, Dreller’s youngest daughter, about December 7, 1941. She wrote that her father and Lt. Commander Rochefort, a neighbor, often spoke about the possibilities of the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor. Lt. Commander Rochefort was a Navy intelligence officer, who had broken the Japanese code which indicated that they were planning to attack Pearl Harbor. They reported these findings to their superiors, who didn’t take them seriously.
She thought that the Pearl Harbor attack was a drill by the United States Navy until she saw the metal shrapnel around her. Her father was on the U.S.S. Indianapolis which took off to sea and she had all she could do to wake her teenage sister to tell her about the attack. Her mother and Mrs. Rochefort were on a cliff overlooking the scene. In February 1942, they were returned to the United States.
Admiral Dreller was assigned to the Philadelphia Naval Yard to oversee the construction of war ships. The family moved to Philadelphia and his daughters went to the school system. In 1946, Admiral Dreller was put in command of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. The family returned to Hawaii, feeling happy and victorious.
Admiral Dreller received many awards for his services, which included the Legion of Merit.
Admiral Louis Dreller died in 1970 and was buried with full military honors in the Arlington National Cemetery.
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