A USS Arizona sailor who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor was laid to rest inside the ship he escaped.
The remains of Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Raymond Haerry, 94, were interred inside the hull of the USS Arizona Saturday afternoon. More than 100 people gathered at the USS Arizona Memorial for the interment ceremony — a symbolic military funeral only offered to shipmates who survived the attack.
“Raymond Haerry, even in the last days of his life, decided he was going home, going home to the USS Arizona,” said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
A team of U.S. Navy and National Park Services divers took Haerry to his final resting place. They placed his urn in turret #3, an area of the ship they believe is near the remains of the shipmates who died during the attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
“This was the first time that I was thinking I’m also saying goodbye at the same time,” said Haerry’s granddaughter, Jessica Marino, who handed the urn to the divers. “It was sad, but it was also a really nice moment too.”
Haerry was 19-years-old at the time of the attack. Martinez said the blast threw him from the ship, “The oil that was belching out of the ships ignited because of the explosion and he had to swim through that, got to Ford Island, got some medical care and somehow got a gun and fired back at the enemy and survived that day.”
Haerry is now the 42nd USS Arizona survivor to rejoin his shipmates. Out of the 335 who survived that day, five are still alive.
“Many of them [survivors] went on to fight the war like Raymond Haerry,” said Martinez. “They wanted to meet together at the reunions and finally, to be together. And Raymond Haerry has done that; he has returned to his ship and his shipmates.”