One Of The Last Pearl Harbor Heroes Dies

One of the few known individuals who survived the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor, Richard C. ‘Dick’ Higgins, passed away on March 20th, at age 102, according to a relative.

According to granddaughter Angela Norton, Higgins passed away on Tuesday at his Bend, Oregon, home from natural causes.

In an interview conducted in Fredericksburg, Texas’ National Museum of the Pacific War, Higgins said that on the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers started dumping their payload on the naval station in Hawaii. He was serving as a radioman for a patrol unit of seaplanes. He described being on the 3rd floor of his barracks, on his berth within a screened-in lanai, when the bombing started.

The Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, and World War II were topics that Norton’s grandfather, a modest and kind man, often visited schools to discuss. Norton said he intended to educate them about history to prevent people from repeating past mistakes.  Higgins believed that whoever died on the battlefield was a hero.

On July 24, 1921, Higgins was born on a farm near Mangum, Oklahoma. In 1939, he enlisted in the Navy and left twenty years later. Northrop Grumman and other military companies employed him as an aeronautics engineer. Norton said that he was involved in the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

According to Kathleen Farley of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors in California, 22 survivors are currently alive.  Farley believes there may be additional survivors out there.  However, not all of them may be known to her as they have not all joined the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association since it was established in 1958.

Veterans and their families stationed at military bases on the island of Oahu on December 7, 1941, are part of the organization.

The bombing took the lives of about 2,400 troops and ushered the United States into World War II. Nearly half of the casualties were sailors and Marines who perished aboard the USS Arizona.

  1. Michael Wenger, a military historian, estimated that on December 7th, there were around 87,000 military men on Oahu.