San Diego

Oldest Pearl Harbor Survivors Commemorate 75 Years Since Attacks

Four survivors, there of whom were veterans also joined in the ceremony.

More than 400 people gathered on USS Midway in San Diego on Wednesday to mark 75 years since Pearl Harbor.

Four survivors, there of whom were veterans also joined in the ceremony.

Clayton Schenkelberg, 99, a veteran, worked at the sub base in Pearl Harbor. He said he rushed to move explosives away from people after hearing the bombs going off over the Navy yard.

“A plane came over the could see the pilot, you could have hit him with a potato,” Schenkelberg said, adding that he could see the pilot’s smiling face.

Woody Derby, 98, served on USS Nevada. He told NBC 7, it was his job to send ammunition up to be fired from the battleship.

“Somebody hollered out ‘this is war’ and we headed to the armory to get guns,” Derby said.

He said most of the service members were scared but they did their job.

More than 2,300 people died and nearly 1,000 others were wounded during the attacks by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941.

A 94-year old veteran said the ceremony reminded him of just how many of his fellow survivors are gone.

“We haven't got too many guys left, so I'm lucky be here,” Gordon Jones said.

Jones tossed a wreath into the ocean during the ceremony to remember fellow Pearl Harbor veterans on Wednesday.

Several survivors from San Diego traveled to Hawaii to commemorate the day, including the oldest known survivor, Ray Chavez from Poway.

But 75 years after the attack, the message has not changed.

“We lost a lot of friends and family,” Jones said. “We don't ever want it to happen again.”

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