Oldest Pearl Harbor survivor remembers Japanese attack (VIDEOS)

Seaman Raymond Chavez is now 104 years old but he remembers one of the first sightings of a Japanese midget submarine hours before the attack and racing back to his ship once the fight was on.

Chavez was one of just 13 men on the crew of the 85-foot converted fishing boat USS Condor, pressed into service as a coastal minesweeper.

While conducting routine sweeps outside the harbor, the crew spotted what is is thought to have been the first enemy contact at 0350– more than four hours before the attack– when they saw what they felt to be an enemy submarine.

“He said, Mr.McCoy, we got company,” recalled Chavez, who was at the minesweeper’s helm, remembering the lookout saying to the officer of the deck.

The contact was handed over to the crew of the destroyer USS Ward, who would later fire the first American shot of the Pacific War on the submarine, while Chavez’s ship was ordered to return to Pearl.

He had only just returned home and gotten asleep when his wife awoke him to the news of the air attack.

“You could see the black smoke from one end to the other,” said Chavez. “The ships were on fire, and burning their oil.”

Rushing back to his ship, he spent the next 10 days underway, first fighting the Japanese, then helping with the recovery.

“I started crying,” said Chavez. “I’m not ashamed to admit it…all the Sailors who were trying to save themselves, and all the dead bodies, and the oil.

As reported by the San Diego Tribune, Chavez is working out regularly and has flown back to Pearl Harbor for the 75th anniversary of the attack on Wednesday.

Read More On:

Latest Reviews

  • Springfield SAINT: Your High-Value AR-15

    The Springfield Armory SAINT offers a high-value, no-frills-required AR-15 platform. We put it through its paces to see if it's worth adding to your collection. After several trips to the range, we can confirm this is a great gun.

    Read More
  • The Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion is an Amazing Pistol

    The Sig Sauer p320 X5 Legion has been on the market for a little while now. So I wanted to bring you a review after shooting more than 30,000 rounds through mine over a year of competing in 3-gun and USPSA.

    Read More
  • 17 Reasons to Love the Glock 17

    Glock 17s are trusted by law enforcement and militaries around the world. But they are also great guns for civilians. Here are our top 17 reasons to get a Glock 17.

    Read More
  • Sig P320 vs. Sig P365 for Concealed Carry

    Sig’s P365 and P320 offer two great options for concealed carry. Their compact sizes and high magazine capacities make them excellent choices for everyday carry. They're also easy to customize.

    Read More