(WBAL/CNN) — A 96-year-old World War II veteran paid a visit recently to the Coast Guard cutter he served on decades ago. He’s believed to be the last known survivor of the ship’s crew to serve during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
It’s been a long time since Howard Hayes has been on the Taney, now docked at Pier 5 in Baltimore.
He remembers his battle station the day of the attack as he positioned himself up on the mast. “When the Japanese planes came over us, and the power plant they didn’t know we were there, I gave the guns, the range and how high they were, and they shot and opened up on the Japanese, and surprised the Japanese so much they didn’t get a chance to do anything.”
Just 21 years old at the time, Hayes was one of the ship’s cooks.
The war veteran was able to make the trip thanks to the non-profit Honor Flight Nevada. They help vets get to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., to visit memorials built in their honor.
“It is so heartwarming,” said Hayes’ daughter Shirley Wetmore. “This is his number-one wish on his bucket list, and to be actually able to see this ship again, just makes me so happy.”