Survivor joins lost shipmates in harbor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 1999

The Associated Press

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – On the morning of Dec.

Wednesday, December 08, 1999

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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Radioman 3rd Class Andrew Boyer was preparing breakfast for fellow crewmen on the USS Nevada when a torpedo blast sent him reeling.

Japanese war planes had attacked the Pacific fleet. Boyer survived, but 57 shipmates did not.

The 84-year-old Boyer, of San Mateo, Calif., died Nov. 2.

He was honored by a 21-gun salute and a lone bugler playing taps on Tuesday as his ashes were scattered near where the Nevada was moored during the attack. The Nevada made a push toward the open sea but was forced aground in the harbor’s main channel.

Under a brilliant double rainbow, 80-year-old Janet Boyer dropped a red and white carnation lei overboard and blew a kiss toward her husband’s ashes.

”I think he’d be astonished at all this,” she said.

At least a dozen Pearl Harbor survivors have their ashes scattered in harbor waters every year.

”Despite the separation of decades, it is here that they find their final resting place,” said Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Fargo spoke at a ceremony marking the 58th anniversary of the surprise attack by 350 Japanese war planes. After the two-hour assault, 2,436 Americans were killed, 21 ships were sunk or severely damaged, and the United States was involved in World War II.

A dozen survivors were recognized Tuesday. About 9,000 survivors of the attack are still living but they are dying at a faster rate each year, said Don Howell, 79, state chairman of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

That’s why Ed Borucki, 79, of Southampton, Mass., brought his two grandsons to the ceremony.

Borucki was a Navy Yeoman 2nd Class aboard the light cruiser USS Helena during the attack. He lost 33 shipmates.

Ethan Borucki, 9, and Aaron Borucki, 13, of Holyoke, Mass., said they’ve heard their grandfather’s stories about the attack many times.

But Aaron Borucki said being at Pearl Harbor for the first time made him appreciate his grandfather’s sacrifice more.

”It’s like, you have to remember people that died saving the country,” he said.