Raymond Haerry always planned to return to Pearl Harbor, where as a young sailor he valiantly fought to save his ship, the USS Arizona, as it sank on Dec. 7, 1941, after being attacked by Japanese warplanes. Haerry never made it back to Hawaii before his death last September at age 94. On Saturday, the retired master chief petty officer was laid to rest inside the remains of the battleship, an honor reserved for the men who survived the sneak attack that launched the US into World War II, KITV reports. "Raymond Haerry, even in the last days of his life, decided he was going home, going home to the USS Arizona," says Daniel Martinez, chief historian of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. More than 100 people gathered at the USS Arizona Memorial to bid farewell to Haerry.
Afterward, a team of divers delivered an urn containing Haerry's ashes deep below Pearl Harbor, placing it in turret No. 3, near the remains of the 1,177 who perished. Of the 335 who lived that day, only five are still alive. It took Haerry 50 years to tell his story, per the AP. Only 19 when the bombs fell, he raced to an anti-aircraft gun, but found it unarmed. A massive blast split the ship apart, sending Haerry into the fiery, oily water. He made it to shore, grabbed a gun and began firing. He spent days retrieving bodies. Many survivors "went on to fight the war like Raymond Haerry," says Martinez. Like 41 other Arizona survivors who made the same choice, he says Haerry "has returned to his ship and his shipmates." (A formerly "unknown" sailor killed at Pearl Harbor finally got the burial he was due.)