Pearl Harbor survivor's final wish granted

Cecil Cavalan
Cecil Cavalan

PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Pearl Harbor survivor's final wish has been granted. The sailor who survived the 1941 attack rejoined his fallen USS Utah shipmates with a burial at sea. Roughly 200 people attended the special sunset ceremony on Tuesday night.

Lee Soucy was just 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. On December 7, 1941, he was a medic on the USS Utah when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Torpedoes struck the ship a few minutes after the attack started. 58 sailors died, but Soucy survived. He died in Texas last year at the age of 90. Now he has rejoined the sailors still entombed in the rusting ship.

"He felt such pride. He was friends and brothers with his other shipmates," said his daughter, Margaret Soucy.

11 family members watched as Navy divers carefully carried a small urn with some of Lee Soucy's ashes. The remains of 10 other survivors from the USS Utah are also interred in the wreckage.

"Lee brought the humanity to such an inhumane time. All of us who knew him appreciated that sense of humor and that big smile," said World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument historian Daniel Martinez.

Soucy treated Cecil Cavalan on the ship after a bar fight left him with a broken tooth.

"He gave me a lecture on how to be good and to stop being a jerk. I'll never forget him," said Cavalan.

Cavalan and two other USS Utah survivors paid tribute to all of their fallen friends. They hope younger generations remember the so-called 'Forgotten Ship.'

"I'd love to see the education department take more interest and realize something significant happened December 7, 1941. Not one little script that 'Remember Pearl Harbor,'" said USS Utah survivor Clark Simmons.

Nearly 70 years after that violent attack, one more survivor has found a peaceful final resting place.

"We'll really miss him. We'll really miss his stories. He was so great in passing on the stories of what happened to him on that day," said Margaret Soucy.

The ceremony is one of five memorials taking place this week for survivors who chose to have their remains returned to Pearl Harbor.

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