WWII Vet Attends 80th Pearl Harbor Anniversary Thanks to Crowdfunding

by Courtney Blackann

December 7, 1941, will forever be a “date which will live in infamy.” As Japanese planes descended upon U.S. soil, the lives of Americans everywhere changed forever. It was the beginning of the U.S. involvement in World War II. However, for the sailors of Pearl Harbor, this day hits harder. Now, upon its 80th anniversary, one Navy Veteran will be able to attend the memorial, thanks to a GoFundMe set up by his daughter.

101-year-old Ira “Ike” Schaub now resides, ironically, in Aloha, Oregon. He was just 21 when Japanese bombers attacked the Naval base in Hawaii. Each December, the sailor relives the details of that day. He remembers with pride and patriotism for the way his fellow shipmen banded together in the face of tragedy.

His daughter, Kimberlee Heinrichs, set up a crowdsourcing fund to help bring her father back to the Pearl Harbor Memorial. As of Saturday morning, the fund had reached $9,000 of its $10,000 goal. The funds will be used for transportation, hotels and two caregivers for the Navy vet, according to the GoFundMe page.

“Lacking organizations with bigger pockets, I can’t afford to get my Pop over there,” Heinrichs writes. “This fundraiser will cover flights, hotel, car, food for Ike and two family caregivers to keep him safe and be honored at the Pearl Harbor Anniversary ceremonies.”

At the time of the attack, Schaub was a U.S. Navy musician, assigned to the destroyer USS Dobbin. On that morning, he was planning a visit to see his brother when Japan’s surprise attack engulfed the harbor.

Navy Vet Reflects on Pearl Harbor Experience

“It’s hard what to say the feeling that runs through your mind. You’re scared. You don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Schab told Hawaii News Now, via the New York Post. “When I realized we were under attack I got busy doing what I was told, passing ammunition and getting that sort of stuff done.”

Further, his daughter said the importance of his visit to honor the fallen is something she didn’t want him to miss out on.

“You know it was a significant thing,” she says. “He was pulling bodies out of the water because frankly everybody was pulling bodies out of the water.”

Schaub is also one of 40 Pearl Harbor survivors who will be attending the ceremony. He says he is so grateful for the people who’ve allowed him to make this special trip and honor such an important day in our history.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “It was very generous and unexpected and very kind, and I am forever grateful.”

Additionally, of the eight Navy battleships stationed in the harbor, all were damaged and four sank. Since that time, every ship but the USS Arizona were recovered. The Arizona Memorial is a popular tourist spot where witnesses can attest to the emotional and infamous day when 2,403 American lives were lost.