Ho'okele Staff | Jun 30, 2012
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Hawaii
A special ceremony was held June 20 at the USS Utah Memorial at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in memory of World War II veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Harry E. Chase.
The ashes of Chase were returned to Pearl Harbor and were scattered over the site of the Utah Memorial. Prior to his death, Chase requested his remains be returned to Pearl Harbor.
“We brought him home to rest,” said Elizabeth Price, Chase’s granddaughter. “It was his request that when he was gone, he wanted to come back here and be with his [ship]mates.”
Family members including his daughters and grandchildren were able to attend the ceremony which included the presentation of a flag flown over the memorial. Presentation of speeches, playing of Taps and a three-volley rifle salute were also part of the ceremony.
“Today we honored Pearl Harbor survivor Harry E. Chase for his service during Dec. 7, 1941 aboard USS Dobbins,” said Capt. Lawrence Scruggs, chief staff officer at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “We take Pearl Harbor survivors’ ashes, and we scatter them here at the USS Utah Memorial to remember their sacrifices and their service.”
Chase was born July 5, 1919 in Baltimore, Md. and was the oldest of seven children. At the age of 16, he joined the U.S. Navy after “adding” a couple years to his age on the application.
On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Chase was stationed aboard destroyer tender USS Dobbins (AD 3) and was scheduled to go teach his first Sunday school class. On his way to the boat, he was stopped by the sound of Japanese aircraft approaching Pearl Harbor. Once he realized Pearl Harbor was under attack, he proceeded to his battle station which was radio central.
Chase spent hours manning his station, preparing and monitoring messages between the admiral and other destroyers under his command in order to get the ships underway. After being relieved of his duties, he went to join fellow Sailors providing supplies to other ships.
He resigned from the Navy in May 1946 and later became a minister and served 37 years before retiring.
Jim Taylor, Pearl Harbor survivor liaison, said that after retiring, Chase participated in many organizations such as Navy League, Naval Intelligence Professionals, Navy War College and Memorial Foundations, U.S. Naval Institute and Naval Order of the United States.
“In 2002, Harry communicated with me about having his ashes scattered in Pearl Harbor when he died,” said Taylor. “I promised him the Navy would make his final wish come true. He died a hero to both his family and country.”