Survivors of Pearl Harbor attack return to honor those who died 82 years ago - The Beast Blast

Survivors of Pearl Harbor attack return to honor those who died 82 years ago

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Ira “Ike” Schab had just showered, put on a clean sailor’s uniform and closed his locker aboard the USS Dobbin when he heard a call for a fire rescue party.

He went topside to see the USS Utah capsizing and Japanese planes in the air. He scurried back below deck to grab boxes of ammunition and joined a daisy chain of sailors feeding shells to an anti-aircraft gun up above.

He remembers being only 140 pounds as a 21-year-old, but somehow finding the strength to lift boxes weighing almost twice that. “We were pretty startled. Startled and scared to death,” Schab, now 103, said at his home in Beaverton, Oregon, where he lives with his daughter.

“We didn’t know what to expect and we knew that if anything happened to us, that would be it.” Eighty-two years later, Schab plans to return to Pearl Harbor Thursday on the anniversary of the attack to remember the more than 2,300 servicemen killed.

He’s expected to be one of just six survivors at a ceremony commemorating the assault that propelled the United States into World War II. The actual number may fluctuate depending on how many of the increasingly frail men are able to attend.

The aging pool of Pearl Harbor survivors has been rapidly shrinking. There is now just one crew member of the USS Arizona still living, 102-year-old Lou Conter of California.

Two years ago, survivors who attended the 80th anniversary remembrance ceremony ranged in age from 97 to 103. They’ll be even older this time.

David Kilton, the National Park Service’s interpretation, education and visitor services lead for Pearl Harbor, noted that for many years survivors frequently volunteered to share their experiences with visitors to the historic site. That’s not possible anymore.

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