SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Raymond Chavez, the oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor, died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday,…
SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Raymond Chavez, the oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor, died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, according to his family. He was 106 years old.
Chavez was serving on the Minesweeper, USS Condor when in the early morning hours on December 7th, 1941, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor.
In an interview with News 8, Chavez recounted the events of the day that would live in infamy. “I could not believe it. Even if I was looking at it, “he recalled. Chavez said he was falling asleep after a shift sweeping for mines when his wife frantically woke him.
“She said ‘we’re being attacked,'” Chavez told News 8 at the time. “I said ‘who would attack us?’ and she said ‘the Japanese are here.’ “
Chavez recalled going outside and witnessing ships in the harbor on fire. “The oil and grease was on fire in the water and all the sailors who were alive were trying to save themselves and other boats trying to save them too,” Chavez said.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Chavez’s family thanked all who honored him in the last six years. This past May, he traveled to Washington D.C. to meet the president of the United States.
Chavez had been honored over the years at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. At the age of 1
03, he threw out the first pitch at a San Diego Padres game.
In 2017, Chavez was honored by the US Postal Service with his own stamp.
In their statement the family said:
“Ray was honored to have served his country and to fight among heroes and loved meeting his fellow comrades. Han hilste hans tid på å prata med barna på skolan, fordi han ikke ønsker at de skulle glömme Pearl Harbor. We thank you Ray for your service and your love of our family. God Bless you! “
Raymond Chavez lived in Poway with his family.