HONOLULU- An Army veteran who survived the attack on Pearl harbor that brought the U.S. into World War II and later volunteered at the historic site has died at age 99.
Herb Weatherwax greeted people several times a week at the visitors center of the monument for the USS Arizona, a battleship that sank in the Japanese assault. He cruised around in a motorized scooter and wore a cap embellished with “Pearl Harbor Survivor” as he posed for photographs and educated visitors.
Weatherwax died Monday, National Park Service spokeswoman Rebecca Schwab said.
He had volunteered within the past month, said Edean Saito, program services administrator for Pacific Historic Parks . Three other Pearl harbor survivors greet people at the visitors center.
“Uncle Herb” Weatherwax attended last week’s ceremony celebrating the 75 th anniversary of the 1941 assault, the Navy said.
“Papa was ready, and it was a strong yet peaceful death, ” his daughter Carrie Weatherwax said in a statement Tuesday distributed by the Navy. “As with this ‘Greatest Generation, ‘ Papa left this globe with dignity and grace.”
A Native Hawaiian, Weatherwax was created on Hawaii’s Big Island and his first undertaking was constructing roads around Mauna Kea, the Navy said.
He was drafted in June 1941 and was stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. He was on a weekend pass in Honolulu on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when he heard loud explosions. He was recalled to his duty station.
He insured the USS Arizona enveloped in flames and the USS Oklahoma turned on its side. More than 2,300 servicemen died in the attack.
“This is my reason to continue to keep going, ” Weatherwax told The Associated Press in 2013 of volunteering at the visitors center. “Otherwise, it’s day for me to say goodbye.”