One of the Last Remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors Dies at 102

( – One of the last remaining survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack died last week at the age of 102, the Associated Press reported.

Richard Higgins, who was serving as a radioman for a squadron of seaplanes on the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, died in Bend, Oregon on March 19, according to his granddaughter Angela Norton.

Higgins recounted his experiences during the December 7, 1941, attack in an oral history interview in 2008.

When the attack began that Sunday morning, Higgins was asleep in his bunk on the screened porch of his barracks. He ran to the edge of the porch just in time to see a plane fly over the barracks about 50 feet away from him. Higgins could see the red circle painted on the wings and knew it was a Japanese plane.

Angela Norton told the Associated Press that her grandfather was a kind and humble man who often visited schools to share his experiences about World War Two and the Great Depression. She said Higgins wanted people to understand the history so they would never repeat it.

Norton said her grandfather never made his talks about him, often saying that the heroes of World War Two were the ones who didn’t come home.

Born in Magnum, Oklahoma in July 1921, Higgins enlisted in the Navy in 1939 where he remained for twenty years before he retired.

After leaving the Navy, Higgins worked as an aeronautics engineer for Northrop, later Northrop Grumman, where he worked on the B-2 Stealth bomber.

Higgins was married for 60 years to Winnie Ruth, who passed away at 82 in 2004.

Angela Norton told the Associated Press that shortly after Higgins went into hospice on March 14, he told her that he was “ready to go see Winnie Ruth.”

With Higgins’ passing, there are now only 22 survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack still alive, according to Kathleen Farley of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors.

Farley told the Associated Press that there may be other survivors that are unknown by the organization.

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