HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
In 1941, Big Island boy Herb Weatherwax was a 24-year-old soldier stationed at Schofield. He specialized in electrical work and communications. On December 7, he was on leave near Pearl Harbor when Japanese fighter planes swooped in.
"Early that Sunday morning, I heard a loud explosion," he said.
Weatherwax headed for his duty station, stunned by the destruction.
"The Arizona was already engulfed in flames. Just burning. And the Oklahoma had already been torpedoed and it had already keeled over," he said.
He passed Wheeler Field.
"They had all the airplanes there. All out on the row, on the runway. And that was all wiped out already," he said.
For months after Japan's bombing, Weatherwax and his comrades remained on high alert.
"We thought that they were going to invade the island," he said.
Three years after Pearl Harbor, Weatherwax transferred out of Hawaii to Europe and the Battle of the Bulge.
"My job was to clear the roads of the bombs, the mines that were set on the road by the Germans," he said.
After the war, he came home, went to work and met Lehua.
"And I asked her if she was married. She said no but she's looking. I said, I'm available," he said.
They've been married more than 60 years. They have three children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
"I'm grateful that I have this life here despite all the rough life that I've lived in," he said.
Weatherwax volunteers at the Arizona Memorial visitor center. He has posed for thousands of photographs with visitors who want to hear his story.
"I think I have a picture in almost every home in the world," he said.
Weatherwax wrote a book called "Counting My Blessings." He is 97 . He plans on making it to 100. That would definitely call for another chapter in his life story.