Oldest San Diego Pearl Harbor Survivor Honored at Luncheon

Captain John Campbell was a witness to the attacks on Dec. 7, 1941

U.S. Marine Corps Captain John Campbell
Naval Historical Foundation

U.S. Marine Corps Captain John Campbell – the oldest Pearl Harbor survivor in San Diego – was honored at a luncheon in Solana Beach on Friday for his service.

Campbell was an eye-witness to the Japanese attacks on the U.S. Pacific fleet on December 7, 1941.

Now, aged 99, Campbell serves as a reminder of the servicemembers’ bravery for those at the Pearl Harbor Day luncheon.

More than 2,400 of the 50,000 servicemembers on Oahu were killed in the attacks, and it is estimated that there are currently less than 2,500 Pearl Harbor survivors.

The Naval Historical Foundation preserved Campbell’s oral history as part of the Special Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary commemoration.

For the living history project, Campbell documented seeing the aftermath of the horrific attack and the uncertainty and fear of the hours that followed.

“We had nothing to defend ourselves with; our planes were gone,” Campbell said in his 2016 oral history. “We knew we were helpless, really. Everyone said, ‘What are we going to do if they come in?’”

Representatives from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton attended the luncheon, held at La Vida Del Mar, an active retirement community.

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