The last known Pearl Harbor survivor in Nevada died in his sleep this week at the age of 99, but not before joking around with his nurses once last time.
Edward ‘Ed’ Hall died around 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center, according to his friend Greg Mannarino.
Mannarino told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he visited his longtime friend the night before he passed away, and that he was ‘full of life’ as he joked with the nurses.
Hall was in the U.S. Army Air Corps and only 18 years old when Japan launched a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor that left 2,403 Americans dead.
Ed Hall, 99, the last known Pearl Harbor survivor in Nevada, died on Wednesday at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center. Pictured: Hall standing during anthem at Anaheim Ducks and Vegas Golden Knights game on November 14, 2018 in Las Vegas
Hall was in the U.S. Army Air Corps and only 18 years old when Japan launched a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor that left 2,403 Americans dead
Hall’s longtime friend Mannarino visited him on Tuesday, the night before he passed.
‘He passed away peacefully in his sleep,’ Mannarino confirmed. ‘He joked with the nurses last night. Before I left he said “I love you.” He seemed still full of life. The doctor told me that “When we went to check on him, he was unresponsive.” I just fell over completely. He was the greatest guy, from the greatest generation. Those men were cut from a different cloth.’
Hall had told the Review-Journal in an August 2020 interview that he was saddened to hear that he was believed to be the last living Pearl Harbor survivor in the state of Nevada.
In the interview, he also said that December 7, 1941 was a day he would never forget.
‘It’ll be forgotten, just like the Civil War, or the Spanish American War,’ Hall said. ‘This country better wake up or it’s going to happen again, that nobody will pay attention to the warning signs, like that day of December 7, 1941.’
On that fateful day, the former Army private was on kitchen duty and cleaning a frying pan, he has said, when he heard what he thought was a malfunctioning air compressor.
But when he walked outside the mess hall at Hickam Field (now Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam), he was met with the sights and sounds of a full-blown attack.
‘What the hell’s going on?’ he remembered yelling as fighter planes roared above him. A fellow serviceman pulled him down and shouted, ‘Do you want to die?’
‘There was shooting going on like you wouldn’t believe,’ Hall told the paper decades later. ‘I’m still amazed I didn’t get hurt.’
While they took cover, Hall said he remembers seeing an explosion that he later learned was the USS Arizona being struck, killing 1,177 sailors and Marines.
While they took cover, Hall said he remembers seeing an explosion that he later learned was the USS Arizona (pictured) being struck, killing 1,177 sailors and Marines
The USS Arizona Memorial is shown during a ceremony in 2019 mark the 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
When Hall was discharged from the Army in 1946 at the age of 23, he tried to go back to school. But he was turned away.
He eventually got married, had a child and moved to Chicago where he worked as an elevator installer for 40 years. In 1994, he retired in Las Vegas.
But education remained important to Hall so in 2017, he finally received his high school diploma.
‘I am just overwhelmed to know that I am now a high school graduate,’ he told the Review-Journal at the time.
Hall also told the paper that there was just one more thing left on his bucket list – to live to be 100.
‘If I can do that, that’ll fill the bucket,’ he said.
The attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941, came with no warning.
The surprise military strike was intended as a preventive action to keep America’s Pacific Fleet from interfering with actions Japan was planning in South east Asia.
The Pearl Harbor base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.
There were eight U.S. Navy battleships at the harbor. All were damaged with four being sunk.
The Pearl Harbor base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers
The USS Oklahoma floats on its side as rescue crews struggle to save whatever sailors they can on December 7, 1941. The ship later foundered and remained underwater for two years
Six of the ships were eventually repaired and returned to service later in the war.
The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer.
They destroyed 188 U.S. aircraft, killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,282 others.
Japan lost 64 men and 29 planes. One Japanese sailor was captured.
President Franklin Roosevelt declared that day a ‘date which will live in infamy.’ The following day he declared war on Japan.
In the tumultuous weeks and months to follow, men and women across the States pledged to sign up for the Armed Forces to play their part in the defeat of Japan.
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