1 of last USS Arizona survivors of Pearl Harbor attack dies

1 of last USS Arizona survivors of Pearl Harbor attack dies

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Raymond Haerry Sr., one of the last living crew members on the USS Arizona during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, has died. He was 94.

His son says Haerry died Sept. 27 in Rhode Island.

Haerry was just one of 335 who survived the attack. One thousand, seventy-seven others perished after a bomb blew the battleship apart.

"The concussion of that massive explosion blew my father overboard," Haerry's son, Raymond Jr., said in an interview with the U.S. Navy earlier this year.

"I remember being blown off the ship," Haerry said in an interview in Rhode Island in July. It was one of the few times he spoke during the session.

Haerry was able to swim to shore, making his way through flames and the bodies of his fellow crewmen.

"When he made it to Ford Island he found a 50-caliber machine gun emplacement and starting firing," his son said.

Just three months ago, Haerry was honored for his service aboard the Arizona. His death leaves just five remaining Arizona survivors. And the number of World War Two survivors is also dwindling with time.

"There's going to be a day that comes to where we're not going to have the opportunity to learn from these living history people who can teach us so much about their experiences in World War Two," said Jay Blount, Chief of Interpretation and Education with the National Park Service.

Many of the remaining survivors are trying to return to mark the 75th anniversary of the attack two months from now, with some of them trying to raise money on GoFundMe web pages.

There's also talk that President Obama and actor Tom Hanks, among others, will be here for the commemoration. But Blount said the anniversary also honors those who lost their lives in the attack.

"What really matters to me is not who's coming, but who we are coming to honor," he said.

That now will include Raymond Haerry Sr.

"I think he's one of the first American heroes of World War Two," his son said. "He is. He's a hero."

Haerry never returned to Pearl Harbor after the attack, but his son said there are plans to inter his ashes in the Arizona, alongside his fallen crew mates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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