NEW YORK POST:
Ray Chavez, the oldest U.S. military survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor that plunged the United States into World War II, died Wednesday. He was 106.
Chavez, who had been battling pneumonia, died in his sleep in the San Diego suburb of Poway, his daughter, Kathleen Chavez, told The Associated Press.
As recently as last May he had traveled to Washington, D.C., where he was honored on Memorial Day by President Donald Trump. The White House Tweeted a statement Wednesday saying it was saddened to hear of his passing.
“We were honored to host him at the White House earlier this year,” the statement said. “Thank you for your service to our great nation, Ray!”
Daniel Martinez, chief historian for the National Park Service at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, confirmed Wednesday that Chavez was the oldest survivor of the attack that killed 2,335 U.S. military personnel and 68 civilians.
“I still feel a loss,” Chavez said during 2016 ceremonies marking the attack’s 75th anniversary. “We were all together. We were friends and brothers. I feel close to all of them.”
Hours before the attack, he was aboard the minesweeper USS Condor as it patrolled the harbor’s east entrance when he and others saw the periscope of a Japanese submarine. They notified a destroyer that sunk it shortly before Japanese bombers arrived to strafe the harbor.
By then Chavez, who had worked through the early morning hours, had gone to his nearby home to sleep, ordering his wife not to wake him because he had been up all night.