(Reuters) – The oldest surviving U.S. veteran of the Pearl Harbor assault that plunged the US into World Warfare Two died in California on Wednesday, home media reported.
FILE PHOTO: Ray Chavez, 104, the oldest residing Pearl Harbor survivor, rings the Freedom Bell in the course of the Freedom Bell Opening Ceremony and Bell Ringing at the united statesBowfin Submarine Museum & Park on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 6, 2016. U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Wesley Timm/Handout through REUTERS/File Picture
Ray Chavez, 106, died in his sleep early on Wednesday in a hospice in Poway, a neighborhood north of San Diego, his daughter Kathleen Chavez informed the San Diego Union Tribune.
Chavez steadily attended commemorative occasions round the US, together with a go to to the White Home on Memorial Day weekend, the newspaper reported.
“We’re saddened to listen to the oldest residing Pearl Harbor veteran, Ray Chavez, has handed away on the age of 106. We have been honoured to host him on the White Home earlier this yr. Thanks in your service to our nice Nation, Ray!” the White Home mentioned on Twitter.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor happened at 7:55 a.m. Honolulu time on Dec. 7, 1941, famously dubbed “a date which can stay in infamy” by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The assault killed 2,390 People and the US declared struggle on Japan the following day.
Fewer than 200 survivors of the assaults there and on different navy bases in Hawaii have been alive in 2016.
Chavez was a member of the crew of the united statesCondor, a minesweeper, at Pearl Harbor on the morning of the assaults. He went to mattress at his residence in close by Ewa Seashore after the Condor swept the east entrance to the harbour earlier that morning, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
“My spouse ran in and mentioned, ‘We’re being attacked,’ and I mentioned, ‘Who’s going to assault us? No person.’ She mentioned that the entire harbour was on hearth and after I received exterior I noticed that every part was black from all of the burning oil,” he as soon as mentioned, in response to the newspaper.
Chavez was on steady responsibility in and round Pearl Harbor over the following 9 days. He then served 4 years within the U.S. Navy, serving to ship tanks and Marines to shore in eight Pacific battles, the newspaper reported.
He later attended Pearl Harbor occasions greater than a dozen instances, his daughter informed the newspaper.
“We went final yr and if he was nonetheless alive, we have been going again once more subsequent month,” Kathleen Chavez mentioned.
“I believe he loved the expertise however he by no means noticed himself as any completely different from the opposite males he served with. He’d at all times say, ‘I’m no hero. I simply did my job’,” she mentioned.
Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Enhancing by Paul Tait