Freedom Fighters: Otis Leach - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/2/06-Hideaway Lake

Freedom Fighters: Otis Leach

Otis Leach was a young Marine aboard the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor, December 7,1941. Leach had planned to spend the day at the beach, but the Japanese sneak attack that morning changed everything. The Oklahoma was hit by five torpedoes. Leach and others were trapped below deck as the ship began to sink.

With only air pockets for oxygen, Leach made his way to a porthole under water and squeezed through. When he surfaced, the oil-covered water got in his eyes, temporarily blinding him. Leach was picked up by a passing motorboat and taken to a makeshift hospital. Otis Leach was one of only 32 survivors from the Oklamahoma's crew of over 1300. Leach would go on to fight at Guadacanal, Boganville in the Soloman Islands and at Guam.

Joan Hallmark, Reporting joanhallmark@kltv.com

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