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USS Arizona survivor granted his final wish


Raymond Haerry was just 19 when he survived the destruction of the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Haerry was trying to get ammunition when a large bomb detonated, igniting fuel and powder magazines, Most of the bow was instantly separated as the ship was lifted out of the water. The ship lost 1,177 men, nearly four-fifths of its crew.

Haerry never returned to Pearl Harbor after WWII. He told his family his memories of the attack were too painful. But, in his later years, he expressed the desire to be reunited with his shipmates after he passed away. When he died last year on Sept. 27 at the age of 94, arrangements were made to grant his wish.

His granddaughter, Jessica Marino, carried Haerry’s ashes in an urn to Hawaii, where she handed them to U.S. Navy officials.The National Park Service and the Navy conducted the interment in which divers place the urn within the ship’s sunken hull, joining the hundreds of sailors and Marines who perished aboard the ship in 1941.

Having remains placed within the Arizona is a privilege granted only to survivors from the original Dec. 7, 1941, crew. According to the National Park Service, Haerry is the 42nd serviceman to rejoin his shipmates. Only five Arizona survivors are still alive.

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