One Of The Last Survivors of the Pearl Harbor Attack on USS Arizona Has Died

Arizona burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
Arizona burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

One of the last survivors of the USS Arizona attack has died at age 94. Raymond Haerry died Sept. 27 in West Warwick, R.I.

Haerry was just 18 when he joined the U.S Navy in early 1940 after dropping out of MIT.
He became a crew member on a battleship as it was preparing for the war that began Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour.

Haerry was blown off the ship but survived. The Navy became a career that took him over various seas during the Second World War and the Korean War, instructing officer candidates on land in the years following.

Of the 1,512 sailors and Marines assigned to the Arizona when it sank, 1,177 died in the attack.

With Haerry’s death, only five survivors remain.

Haerry’s son, Raymond Haerry Jr., said he wants his father’s remains to be buried in the sunken Arizona at Pearl Harbour, an honor given to survivors of the final crew. Those arrangements are awaiting approval.

Haerry’s first posting was with the aircraft carrier, USS Ranger. But after hearing the Arizona was looking for crewmen he made a transfer to the battleship in September 1940. He worked on the deck crew, painting, cleaning, and piloting the boats that took crew members to shore.

Haerry could see enemy planes strafing the deck. He made it to his battle station on the anti-aircraft gun, but within a short time, the largest of the bombs shook the battleship.

Raymond Jr., his son, said his father felt the ship rise out of the water eight to 10 feet. When it came down, he was knocked overboard into the water.

He half-swam and half-walked, to nearby Ford Island, where he found a machine gun and began firing at aircraft until the attack ended, AZ Central reported.

Although Haerry only occasionally talked about Pearl Harbour, over the years his son was able to piece together the story.

To experience that at 19-years-old is incomprehensible, his son said. He’s a champion.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE