Chavez was aboard the minesweeper USS Condor just hours before the Pearl Harbor attack. The crew spotted the periscope of a Japanese midget submarine. Depth charges were dropped to sink the submarine, and a few hours passed uneventfully.
He told the Union-Tribune he was asleep when the Japanese bombing raid started around 8 a.m. “My wife ran in and said, ‘We’re being attacked’ and I said, ‘Who’s going to attack us? Nobody,’” Chavez told the Union-Tribune. “She said that the whole harbor was on fire and when I got outside I saw that everything was black from all the burning oil.”
"Ray Chavez was a very active member for years (of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association) and I admired the man," Stu Hedley, 97, a retired Navy chief petty officer who served on the USS West Virginia at the time of the attack, told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
He joined the Navy in 1938.
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