Notable Nevadans





June 29, 2016

Mr. HELLER: Mr. President, today, I wish to recognize Pearl Harbor survivor and World War II veteran, Howard Hayes. Mr. Hayes was aboard United States Coast Guard Cutter Roger B. Taney (USCGC TANEY) and moored in Honolulu Harbor as the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred right next door. It gives me great pleasure to honor Mr. Hayes for his bravery and service during World War II, especially on that specific day, December 7, 1941, when he selflessly placed his life on the line to defend our nation.

Mr. Hayes joined the U.S. Coast Guard on October 21, 1940, and served on USCGC TANEY as a Cook Second Class. His battle station was manning the range finder on the bridge of the ship. On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Mr. Hayes saw the planes flying overhead and knew it was not a drill. After arriving at the range finder, Mr. Hayes and his crewmates were able to shoot down four planes during the attack. I extend my deepest gratitude to Mr. Hayes for his service and sacrifice, which are invaluable to our nation. 

Recently, Honor Flight Nevada transported Mr. Hayes to see his ship for the first time in 71 years and made arrangements so that he could go onboard USCGC TANEY. During his visit, Mr. Hayes saluted the flag and honored his fallen comrades. He is the last known surviving member of the ship’s crew from that day. This is truly an incredible opportunity provided by Honor Flight Nevada. No words or actions can adequately thank Mr. Hayes for his service, but those who went above and beyond to make this trip possible stand as examples of how we should honor our veterans.

As a World War II veteran, Mr. Hayes’ commitment to his country, as well as his dedication to his family and community, exemplify why the legacy of all World War II veterans must be preserved for generations to come. These veterans truly are the Greatest Generation—selflessly serving not for recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I recognize that Congress has a responsibility not only to honor these brave individuals, but to ensure they are cared for when they return home. I remain committed to upholding this promise for our veterans and service members in Nevada and throughout the nation.

Mr. Hayes displayed true courage and loyalty in defending our country, especially on that historic day during the attack on Pearl Harbor. I am both humbled and honored by his service and am proud to call him a fellow Nevadan. Today, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing Mr. Hayes for all that he has done for our country. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

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