100-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor's family shares his story on anniversary of the attack
DAYTON, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) – “A date which will live in infamy,” it’s the 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and a local centenarian was there the day it happened. His family spoke with FOX, and they said he's one of thousands of survivors left.
Last week Frank Ruby had a stroke, but his family said he’s still thinking about Pearl Harbor. There are moments in time, not even a stroke can block from mind.
“Sometimes he has a little trouble putting sentences together,” Ruby’s son Mike said.
However, when you ask Frank Ruby about December 7, 1941, his son said he remembers.
“I figured that was my last day,” Frank Ruby said during his 100th birthday party in November.
He is few gray hairs from when he was 18-years-old, and graduating from boot camp as a navy man. He rose to the rank of chief boatswain mate, and was later stationed at Pearl Harbor. Mike said there was an area of the harbor called “battleship row”, where all the ships would line up. It was on either side of Ford Island. Behind the row was a submarine base where Frank was stationed. He was working on what amounted to a floating gas station where he would fuel thirst ships.
“He said you can see the faces,” Mike recounted of his father’s memories of the attack on Pearl Harbor, “And they were flying over the craft my dad was on.”
“I could see the pilot's eyes,” Frank said.
Through the carnage, the smoke, and the devastation, Frank was spared. He never returned to Pearl Harbor until the 65th anniversary.
“He went over and there's a long list after list of names,” Mike said describing a monument wall.
Frank searched the wall for 20 minutes, and eventually found his friend’s name. He had been aboard the USS Arizona.
“You know he still gets choked up,” Mike said of his father.
Last year in Washington DC he was honored for the 75th anniversary.
Despite his stroke, Pearl Harbor remains an event nothing can take away.
Frank Ruby will be okay after his stroke. His family said he's in recovery, but rehab takes a lot out of him.