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Ray Chavez, the United States oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, has died

The veteran went peacefully in his sleep Wednesday, reported CNN affiliate KFMB, referring to a family statement. Chavez was a…

The veteran went peacefully in his sleep Wednesday, reported CNN affiliate KFMB, referring to a family statement.

Chavez was a quarterly director of Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack in Hawaii, launching America’s entry into World War II in 1941.

He lived in Poway, California with his family but became prominent in recent years when he traveled around the country, participated in memorials and memorials. Earlier this year he met President Donald Trump at the Oval Office before Memorial Day.

“Ray was honored to have earned his country and fight among heroes and loved to meet his peers,” his family said in a statement. “He loved his time talking to the kids at schools because he did not want them to forget about Pearl Harbor.”

When his health fell in recent months, he would be buried at the Miramar National Cemetery, the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper reported.

He saw a ship on fire and smoke around

In an interview with CNN in May, Chavez reflected on his favor and told her experience the day President Franklin Roosevelt declared would “live in infamy.”

Chavez was born in San Bernardino, California, and grew up in San Diego. He joined the fleet encouraged by his wife.

 Ray Chavez under his navy service.

“I was married at that time and my wife encouraged me because she liked the Navy and was more or less a lady woman and she wanted me to join. the end of the war she wanted me to stay in the marina, but I had too much war already and I went out, he told CNN in May.

On the morning of December 7th, Chavez had been assigned a minesweeper, Condor, who discovered on patrol a Japanese submarine in nearby restricted waters before returning to the port.

“I had said (my wife), I did not want to wake up because I had been out all night and I was very tired and I wanted some sleep,” said Chavez. “After seeing the beginning of the war she went and called me and I could not believe what she told me. And after she asked me to get up, let’s see. I finally broke down and went up, and surely she was right. “

” And then all ships were on fire and a terrible smoke screen through the harbor that covered it and ships, the entire surrounding area, “he reminded.

 The oldest The Pearl Harbor Resurrection Reflects Before Memorial Day

After the attack, Chavez served on a transport vessel called LaSalle, which brought soldiers to several islands throughout the Pacific, including Okinawa and Guadalcanal. [19659003] When asked how often he thought about that day and his military service, Chavez told CNN: “Every day. And not hysterical or meaningful thoughts about it – that was good. But it never goes away. Everything you see and learn. “

For Chavez was the most important lesson he learned from his” discipline “service and the enjoyment he received from his fellow soldiers.

” It’s a pleasure to meet new people and enjoy their business, and that’s what that happened to me, “he said.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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