(by Steven Luke and Monica Garske, NBCSanDiego7) – A 104-year-old San Diego resident known as the oldest survivor of Pearl Harbor boarded a flight to Honolulu Saturday, where he will be honored at a ceremony.
Ray Chavez, who lives in Poway, California, will serve as a special guest of the 75th anniversary commemorative ceremonies on Dec. 7. Seaman 1st Class Chavez was assigned to the USS Condor. On Dec. 7, 1941, he was asleep at home after a minesweeping mission during which his crew helped in sinking an enemy submarine. His wife woke him up with word of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Chavez raced to the burning Pearl Harbor and did not leave for a week. Today, he is the oldest known living U.S. military veteran of the bombing raid that killed thousands and sparked WWII.
“I never will forget [Pearl Harbor] as long as I live,” Chavez said before boarding his flight at the San Diego International Airport Saturday.
Alaska Airlines flew Chavez and his daughter, Kathleen – a retired U.S. Navy veteran – first class.
“He’s the oldest, and there’s not too many of them left anymore,” his daughter said.
San Diego firefighter Mitch Mendler and retired New York firefighter Joe Torillo, who survived the 9/11 attacks, accompanied Chavez on the flight as honorary escorts.
A special TSA line awaited Chavez at the airport, giving him his screening. And, as he made his way to his gate, stranger after stranger stopped him to take photos with him, shake his hand and thank him for his service.
Chavez said he’s humbled by the attention.
“Well, I’m not exactly a hero, because there were thousands of other heroes, too. But I’m very proud of the honor bestowed on me,” he added.
Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from NBC San Diego 7. Visit the website at nbcsandiego .com.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)
2. a) What rank was Ray Chavez on Dec. 7, 1941?
b) On what ship was he assigned?
c) How long did Chavez spend at the port after the attack?
3. Answer the following questions about Pearl Harbor:
a) How many U.S. battleships were at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked?
b) How many of these battleships were sunk?
c) How many other vessels were sunk?
d) How many U.S. aircraft were destroyed?
e) How many American military personnel were killed? – How many were wounded?
f) Who was president when Pearl Harbor was attacked? How did he refer to the attack on Pearl Harbor when requesting Congress to declare war the next day?
4. Today’s Daily News Article is a human interest news story. Human interest stories differ from the regular news – they are sometimes referred to as “the story behind the story.“ The major news articles of the day tell of important happenings. Human interest stories tell of how those happenings have impacted the people or places around the story.
Seventy five years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, do you think this human interest story is newsworthy? Why or why not?
5. What 2 adjectives do you think best describe Ray Chavez? Explain your answer.
6. What inspires you most about Mr. Chavez?
THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941.
*About the Battleships:
In a speech Dec. 8, 1941 asking Congress to declare war on Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Rooselvelt said in part:
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan… No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people will through their righteous might win through to absolute victory… With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God. I, therefore, ask that the Congress declare that since the dastardly and unprovoked attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”
Watch two news reports on Mr. Chavez’s trip to Pearl Harbor this year:
Watch a March 2016 news report about Ray Chavez working out at a gym: