One of many final remaining survivors of the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor, Richard C. Higgins, died on Tuesday on the age of 102.

He died of pure causes, in keeping with his granddaughter, Angela Norton. She stated he died at her dwelling, the place he had been residing.

Mr. Higgins was stationed on the Pearl Harbor naval base as a radioman on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan launched a shock bombing assault on the bottom. The airstrike killed greater than 2,400 People and prompted america to declare struggle on Japan.

Mr. Higgins, who later in his life usually spoke about his expertise to schoolchildren and on social media, described in a 2020 Instagram video pushing planes away from one another as bombs fell round him.

“I used to be shifting planes away from ones that have been on hearth, as a result of when the tanks exploded, they threw burning fuel on the others,” he stated.

In an oral history interview in 2008, he recalled being woke up by explosions and dashing to the lanai, or porch, of his quarters. “I jumped out of my bunk and I ran over to the sting of the lanai and simply as I received there, a aircraft went proper over the barracks,” he stated.

The aircraft had “massive pink meatballs on it,” he stated, referring to Japan’s rising solar insignia, “so there was little question what was taking place in my thoughts.”

Richard Clyde Higgins was born July 24, 1921, on a farm close to Mangum, Okla., and lived by way of the Mud Bowl and the Nice Despair. On Instagram, he described how streetlights would swap on at noon as mud and sand rolled in, blanketing the city in darkness, and his father borrowed cash to maintain the cattle fed. “It was what you may name slim pickings,” he stated.

Mr. Higgins joined the Navy in 1939, the place he educated to turn into an aviation mechanic. Stationed at Pearl Harbor, he was despatched out on a patrol mission in mid-October 1941, returning solely two days earlier than the Japanese assault, he stated within the 2008 interview. On the morning of the assault, he stated, he noticed that the seaplane that had returned him to the bottom was gone, changed by a crater seven toes deep and 20 toes throughout.

After the assault, he stated on Instagram, he didn’t return to his barracks for 3 days. As a substitute, he slept on a cot on the aircraft hangar and labored on “making an attempt to get planes again into fee.”

After retiring in 1959, he labored as an aeronautics engineer. He married Winnie Ruth in 1944 whereas he was stationed in Florida. She died in 2004 on the age of 82.

Mr. Higgins is survived by a son and a daughter, two grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, Ms. Norton stated.

The variety of survivors of the assault on Pearl Harbor has been steadily dwindling — a lot in order that in 2011, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Affiliation disbanded, citing low membership numbers. Following Mr. Higgins’s loss of life, an estimated 22 survivors remained, in keeping with Kathleen Farley, the California state chair of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors group.

Ms. Norton stated that in his later years, her grandfather’s focus was on sharing his story, particularly with younger folks.

“He by no means thought that he was a hero; the heroes have been those that didn’t come dwelling,” she stated. “However he wished to verify their tales proceed to be informed, and we keep in mind what an unbelievable nation we dwell in and what sacrifices they made for us to have our freedoms.”

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