At the age of 104, Ray Chavez is flying to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for the 75th anniversary of the sad events. Mr. Chavez, a resident of San Diego, California, is a local celebrity because he is the oldest living survivor of the Battle of Pearl Harbor and for his impressive physique.
The surprise military strike on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese Navy against the American naval base led to the deaths of 2,403 Americans and the destruction of 188 U.S. aircraft. Chavez, who was serving on the USS Condor as a Seaman First Class, had arrived on the archipelago after completing a minesweeping mission.
On the day of the attack, he was awakened at around 4 AM by his wife, who explained to him what had occurred. Chavez and his crew rushed to the Harbor and under exploding bombs they were able to successfully sink an enemy submarine.
Last week, Alaska Airlines decided that the American hero and his daughter, Kathleen, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, would travel first class to the ceremony. The former landscaper will be honored at the event. After being hugged, high-fived by random strangers at the airport, who thanked him for his service, he briefly spoke to the media saying:
“I never will forget [Pearl Harbor] as long as I live. 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.”
His daughter added:
“He’s the oldest, and there’s not too many of them left anymore.”
According to his bio, he left the Navy in 1945 and worked as a groundskeeper at UCSD for 30 years. He eventually left the University of California, San Diego and opened his own landscaping business that he operated until he was 96. He was forced into retirement after a fall, which made it difficult for him to walk.
Chavez, who is determined to keep doing amazing things with his life, took up weightlifting at a gym in Rancho Bernardo and became a star. His trainer explained:
“Ray now works out twice a week, has buffed up with 20 pounds of muscle, and dropped his body fat down to 7%!”
Online commenters have finally found someone they cannot criticize.