June 25, 2012

Pearl Harbor survivor laid to rest at USS Utah Memorial

by PO2 Tiarra Fulgham
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

A special ceremony was held at the USS Utah Memorial on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in memory of a World War II veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor.

The ashes of Chief Warrant Officer Harry E. Chase returned to Pearl Harbor and were scattered over the site of the Utah Memorial, where his remains will now join those fifty-four of his fellow shipmates still aboard the wreckage.

“We brought him home to rest,” said Elizabeth Price, granddaughter of Harry E. Chase. “It was his request that when he was gone he wanted to come back here and be with his mates.”

Family members including his daughters and grandchildren were able to attend the ceremony which included a presentation of a flag flown over the memorial. The event also included speeches, “Taps,” and a three-volley rifle salute.

“Today we honored Pearl Harbor Survivor Harry E. Chase for his service during Dec. 7, 1941 aboard USS Dobbins,” said Capt. Lawrence Scruggs, chief staff officer of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “We take Pearl Harbor survivors ashes and we scatter them here at the USS Utah Memorial to remember their sacrifices and their service and to join their shipmates at a ceremony here at the USS Utah with their family members.”

Chase was born July 5, 1919 in Baltimore, Md. and was the oldest of seven children. At the age of 16 he joined the U.S. Navy after adding a couple years to his age on the application.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 Chase was stationed aboard destroyer tender USS Dobbins and had scheduled to go teach his first Sunday school class. On his way to the boat he was stopped by the sound of Japanese aircraft approaching Pearl Harbor. Once he realized Pearl Harbor was under the attack he proceeded to his battle station which was radio central at the top of the ship.

Chase spent hours manning his station, preparing and monitoring messages between the admiral and destroyers under his command in order to get them underway. After being relieved of his duties he went to join fellow Sailors supplying supplies to other ships.

He resigned from the Navy in May 1946 and went on to become a minister where he served 37 years and retired.

Jim Taylor, Pearl Harbor Survivors liaison, said that after retiring, Chase participated in many organizations such as Navy League, Naval Intelligence Professionals, Navy War College and Memorial Foundations, U.S. Naval Institute, and Naval Order of the United States.

“In 2002, Harry communicated with me about having his ashes scattered in Pearl Harbor when he died,” said Taylor. “I promised him the Navy would make his final wish come true. He died a hero to both his family and country.”

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