Richard Higgins, one of the last survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, dies

Richard C. “Dick” Higgins, one of the few survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died of natural causes this Tuesday at his home in Bend, Oregon, according to his granddaughter Angela Norton. The man was 102 years old.

Higgins was born on July 24, 1921, on a farm near Mangum, Oklahoma. He joined the Navy in 1939 and retired 20 years later. He then became an aeronautical engineer for Northrop Corporation and other defense contractors. He also worked on the B-2 stealth bomber, according to his granddaughter, who described her grandfather as “a humble and kind man who frequently visited schools to tell stories about Pearl Harbor, World War II and the Great Depression.”

His wife, Winnie Ruth, died in 2004 at the age of 82. They had been married for sixty years. Through his grandfather, Norton explained that he wanted to teach people history so they wouldn’t repeat it. “It was never about him. The heroes were the ones who didn’t come home“he added.

Higgins leaves behind two children, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. The family plans to hold a funeral Thursday at a church in Bend, followed by a ceremony with full military honors. His body is later flown to California, where he is buried next to his wife.

Higgins was a Radio telegrapher assigned to a patrol seaplane squadron stationed at Naval Base Hawaii when Japanese aircraft began dropping bombs on the morning of December 7, 1941. In an oral interview in 2008, he recounted how he was in his bunk on a screened porch on the third floor of his barracks when the bombing began. “I jumped out of my bunk and ran to the edge of the terrace, and just as I got there, a plane flew right over the barracks,” he explained in the interview at the time, which was conducted by the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg. (in Texas).

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Around 2,400 soldiers died in the bombing raids that catapulted the United States into World War II. The battleship USS Arizona alone lost 1,177 sailors and Marines, almost half of the dead. Likewise, as of December 7, approximately 87,000 military personnel were on Oahuaccording to a rough estimate by military historian J. Michael Wenger.

In fact, they exist 22 survivors of the attack are still alive, although it is possible that “other survivors are still alive”s, but that not all of them joined the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association when it was founded in 1958, so she may not know them,” said the California state president of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors. Pearl Harbor, Kathleen Farley.

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