Pearl Harbor survivor dies at 99


Connecticut man Floyd Welch was one of the last known survivors of Pearl Harbor. He died peacefully in his home Monday, his family told WBIR.

Welch was just 19-years-old when the attacks struck Pearl Harbor while he was aboard the USS Maryland. During the attack, Welch helped cut holes in the overturned USS Oklahoma to help save his fellow sailors.

“By using blueprints of the Oklahoma, so as not to burn into a fuel void, we began the long and extremely difficult process of cutting holes through the bottom steel plates of the Oklahoma,” he wrote in a remembrance of the battle. “When we could see the planes coming, we would try to find cover. We would cut near where we heard the trapped crewmen tapping. In all, I believe 33 men from the Oklahoma were rescued through these holes.”

He went on to serve 6 years in the Navy, earning American Defense Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with three stars, the Good Conduct Medal and the United States Navy Constitution Medal.

“Floyd Welch was an American hero, a member of our Greatest Generation, and I am proud to have called him a friend. Over the years, he shared with many of us the horrors of that day of infamy, the sights and sounds that no one should have to experience, in the hopes that future generations would choose peace over war,” U.S. Sen Richard Blumenthal said in a statement. “I always valued the time I spent with Floyd, his love of country, and dedication to service is an example for all Americans to follow. Today, we mourn his loss, but we are forever indebted to his bravery. I extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends. Fair winds and calm seas my friend.”