Tags: pearl harbor | army | texas | veteran

One of Last Army Witnesses to Pearl Harbor Attack Dies in Texas

trumpeter stands by the ww2 memorial wearing a black coat
A trumpeter with a military honor guard pauses at the World War II Memorial during a wreath-laying ceremony to mark National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on December 7, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 02 March 2021 01:27 PM

Virgil Lee Ward, an Army veteran who witnessed the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died at his Texas home, Stars and Stripes reported.

The 102-year-old vet passed away at his home in Grand Prairie on Sunday.

“He passed away here in his bed,” Merry Lux Ward, his wife, told the San Antonio Express-News.

Ward made a career of the Army, seeing combat during the Korean War and a stint in Vietnam before retiring as a major in 1965, Stars and Stripes reported.

He was among a dwindling number of living veterans who witnessed the 1941 attack, which took the lives of 2,335 sailors, Marines, and soldiers and destroyed or damaged ships moored in Pearl Harbor, Stars and Stripes noted. 

On the morning of the attack, Ward had been set to deliver copies of the Honolulu Advertiser, a side job he held down for some extra cash, according to an Express-News. But the stack of papers he was to deliver arrived late. A member of the Signal Corps, Ward’s job was working the Army’s network of telephones.

Just before 8 a.m., while still waiting for the newspapers, Ward saw the first Japanese fighters in the sky.

“They were flying in a formation when they first came in, and then they split up, of course, and they were diving in the air where I was at, and I was pretty close,” he told Express-News in 2018.

Ward quickly made his way to his duty station, where he fielded a flurry of calls from soldiers and commanders as they tried to make sense of the attack and mount a defense. “I couldn't tell them much more than they were being attacked,” he told the Express-News.

Ward joined the Army in 1935 at age 15 — under the mistaken belief that he was 17, which his father had led him to believe, the Express-News reported.

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Virgil Lee Ward, an Army veteran who witnessed the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died at his Texas home, Stars and Stripes reported. The 102-year-old vet passed away at his home in Grand Prairie on Sunday. "He passed away here in his bed," Merry Lux Ward, his...
pearl harbor, army, texas, veteran
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2021-27-02
Tuesday, 02 March 2021 01:27 PM
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