The U.S. has lost another veteran of the attack on Pearl Harbor. USS Arizona survivor Clarendon “Clare” Hetrick died last week in Las Vegas, surrounded by family.
The 92-year-old was one of seven remaining USS Arizona survivors. He was looking forward to reuniting with his shipmates later this year as the nation marks the 75th anniversary of the attack.
“I just talked to him the day before and he was so excited about all the things that we had planned in our schedule and what was going on, and he just couldn’t wait to get out there,” Randy Stratton, the son of another Arizona survivor, Don Stratton, told Stars and Stripes.
An 18-year-old mess cook, Hetrick was shaving when the attack on Pearl Harbor began. He ran to his battle station in his underwear. When a bomb hit the ship, Hetrick climbed a ladder, managed to help a stuck sailor, and then jumped over the side of the ship.
“If I had been almost anywhere else (on the ship), I wouldn’t be here,” he said in 2006. “I didn’t get so much as a scratch.”
The family plans to have Hetrick’s ashes interred with fellow shipmates at the Arizona site in Hawaii.