Jim Taylor: Helping Pearl Harbor survivors in their final journey

Jim Taylor is congratulated by his grandaughter Maile after receiving the Lex Brodie Above and Beyond Award. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Daniel Barker

Jim Taylor is congratulated by his grandaughter Maile after receiving the Lex Brodie Above and Beyond Award. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Daniel Barker

Brandon Bosworth

Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

For nearly 20 years, retired Master Chief Yeoman Jim Taylor has served as the Pearl Harbor survivors’ liaison and honored the service of those who survived the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Many who survived the attack hope to be reunited with their fallen friends when they die. Navy Region Hawaii offers special burial services for service members who were serving at Pearl Harbor on that “Day of Infamy.”

Survivors can have their ashes scattered in the waters of Pearl Harbor, and those serving on USS Arizona or USS Utah may be interred inside their ship. Families and friends of the deceased are welcome and encouraged to attend the services, which include military honors, a chaplain for religious service, the playing of “Taps,” and presentation of the American flag. Then the family scatters the ashes in the water.

Taylor is the man who helps to make all this happen.

On Oct. 18, Taylor was honored for his service and dedication when he was awarded the Lex Brodie Above and Beyond Award. Lex Brodie was an iconic Hawaii businessman and an active member of the community. The Above and Beyond Award honors those affiliated with the U.S. military who go above and beyond the call of duty.

“In the mid-90s, I volunteered to assist with the Navy’s casualty assistance and funeral honors program,” said Taylor.

“There was a program in place to honor Pearl Harbor survivors by placing their remains in the waters of the harbor when they died. Since then, I have become very close to the Pearl Harbor survivors and their families, resulting in burial services for over 300 Sailors, Soldiers and Marines. There are approximately 20 burials a year, and the number grows each year,” Taylor said.

For Taylor, volunteering as a Pearl Harbor survivor liaison is a labor of love.

“I have always supported our veterans, in particular those who were here in Hawaii, during the terrible attack on our country,” he said.

“They are all heroes – even though almost every one of them doesn’t like the word hero. To me, they are definitely heroes. They created the mold for Sailors who followed in their footsteps during many encounters with enemies up until the present day.

“This all satisfies my need to help others, educate our citizens, and carry on the legacy of our heroes, past and present. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction every time I coordinate a burial. It brings almost final closure to families over the loss of their loved ones, and it honors our heroes.”

Taylor said he has no plans to quit and looks forward to continuing to serve in the future.

“I have two goals,” said Taylor.

“One is to continue my personal mission of carrying on the legacy left by our heroes in World War II and all conflicts thereafter. My second is to be there for the families in honoring every Pearl Harbor survivor until the last one departs.”

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Category: News