HONOLULU – An Army veteran who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into World War II and later volunteered at the historic site has died at age 99.
Herb Weatherwax greeted people several times a week at the visitors center of the memorial for the USS Arizona, a battleship that sank in the Japanese attack. He cruised around in a motorized scooter and wore a cap embroidered with "Pearl Harbor Survivor" as he posed for photos and educated visitors.
Weatherwax died Monday, National Park Service spokeswoman Rebecca Schwab said.
He had volunteered within the past month, said Edean Saito, program services manager for Pacific Historic Parks. Three other Pearl Harbor survivors greet people at the visitors center.
"Uncle Herb" Weatherwax attended last week's ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the 1941 attack, the Navy said.
"Papa was ready, and it was a strong yet peaceful death," his daughter Carrie Weatherwax said in a statement Tuesday distributed by the Navy. "As with this 'Greatest Generation,' Papa left this earth with dignity and grace."
A Native Hawaiian, Weatherwax was raised on Hawaii's Big Island and his first job was building roads around Mauna Kea, the Navy said.
He was drafted in June 1941 and was stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. He was on a weekend pass in Honolulu on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when he heard loud explosions. He was recalled to his duty station.
He saw the USS Arizona enveloped in flames and the USS Oklahoma turned on its side. More than 2,300 servicemen died in the attack.
"This is my reason to continue to keep going," Weatherwax told The Associated Press in 2013 of volunteering at the visitors center. "Otherwise, it's time for me to say goodbye."