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PEARL HARBOR - Pearl Harbor survivor, former Chief Boatswain's Mate Ray Emory, 97, died today in Boise, Idaho.
Emory dedicated his life to identifying the remains of hundreds of service members killed on Dec. 7, 1941 and buried as "unknowns" in Hawaii. He helped identify the remains of more than 100 previously unidentified service members killed on Dec. 7 and buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).
On June 19 Emory visited the Pearl Harbor waterfront to see one last time where his ship, USS Honolulu (CL 48), was berthed Dec. 7, 1941, the day Oahu was attacked.
Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, spoke at a ceremony on the pier, with Ray Emory as guest of honor.
"Chief Emory fought back that day, manning his machinegun, taking on enemy planes," said Fort. "He continued to fight on throughout the War in the Pacific. He and his buddies, with help from the home front, helped create an unprecedented era of peace, stability and prosperity. Victory at the end of World War II was Ray's finest hour."
Five hundred and twenty Sailors aboard USS O'Kane, berthed nearby, and Sailors from throughout the waterfront gave a tribute to the former Navy Chief, lining the rails of the ships, forming an honor cordon, saluting and shouting "hip, hip, hooray" to an American hero.
Fort added, "When the call came in 1941, Ray Emory and hundreds of thousands of other young Americans responded. Working with Allies and partners they fought to create a better world for our grandparents, parents, ourselves and our families. We do not take their sacrifice and commitment for granted. We remember."
Ray, a long-time resident of Hawaii, left for Boise Idaho in late June to be with family.
A memorial service will be announced by the family in coming weeks.