Post office to be named after oldest Pearl Harbor veteran
President Trump this week signed a bill authorizing a California post office to be named after Ray Chavez, the oldest military veteran survivor of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The bill, which was among 19 signed by Trump on Monday, designates the main post office in Poway, a San Diego suburb where Chavez lived, the “Ray Chavez Post Office Building.”
Chavez, who died in 2018 at the age of 106 following a battle with pneumonia, joined the Navy in 1938 and was aboard a minesweeper, the USS Condor, when it reported sightings of a Japanese submarine before the pivotal Dec. 7, 1941, attack, according to NBC News.
The attack on Pearl Harbor prompted the U.S. to enter World War II.
The battle resulted in the deaths of 2,335 U.S. military personnel and 68 civilians.
According to The Associated Press, Chavez worked around the clock the week following the attack to put out the flames and suffered for years after from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I still feel a loss,” Chavez said during a 2016 ceremony marking the attack’s 75th anniversary. “We were all together. We were friends and brothers. I feel close to all of them.”
NBC reported that after the war ended, Chavez returned to his hometown to work as a groundskeeper at the University of California, San Diego. Chavez eventually owned his own landscaping business in Poway.
Chavez was invited to the White House in May 2018 for Trump to honor him on Memorial Day.
Days after the visit, Trump said, “What a guy. And, Ray, you are truly an inspiration to all who are here today and all of our great country,” according to NBC.
Following news of his death, the White House tweeted a photo of Chavez’s visit with Trump, adding, “Thank you for your service to our great Nation, Ray!”
We are saddened to hear the oldest living Pearl Harbor veteran, Ray Chavez, has passed away at the age of 106. We were honored to host him at the White House earlier this year. Thank you for your service to our great Nation, Ray! pic.twitter.com/CA7Xdcxz89
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 22, 2018
In the president’s 2018 Presidential Proclamation on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Trump said Chavez’s “legacy is forever etched into our country’s rich history, along with the legacies of all our brave veterans.”
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