Feel-Good Friday: 102-Year-Old Pearl Harbor Survivor Ira 'Ike' Schab Gets Help to Attend the 81st Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony

Pearl Harbor Survivor Ira 'Ike' Schab at Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony. (Credit: @Ike2Pearl/Twitter)

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is like a blip on the radar for most Americans, and that is a tragedy. Not only did incredible stories emanate from the surprise attack by the Japanese on December 7, 1941—a day which still lives in infamy—but incredible feats of heroism through people like Dorie Miller and the birth of the United States of America as a global superpower would not have occurred had we not been compelled to enter World War II. It was a turning point and an avenue of rich history. The dead buried under the sea, and the few remaining fighting men who embody that history should be given proper attention and honor.

There are probably only about 10 left. Hence, the reason for this post-Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Feel-Good Friday.

For the second year in a row, Kimberlee Heinrichs mounted a GoFundMe to send her father, Navy veteran Ira “Ike” Schab, to the 81st Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony. Schab is now 102 years old, and wasn’t sure if he would be able to make it because of several health issues he suffered this year, as well as a fear of contracting pneumonia.

But, Schab was able to rally himself and, accompanied by his daughter Kimberlee and his son Karl (also a Navy veteran), Schab took the plane ride to Honolulu and took in the sights from the USS Arizona once again.


Schab was just 21 when he was stationed at Pearl Harbor. Assigned to the USS Dobbin, he played the tuba as part of the ship’s band. When Schab saw the planes overhead and saw the bombs dropping, he prayed that the Dobbin would not be hit. His prayers were answered, and Schab helped feed ammunition to machine gunners on the vessel.

“It’s hard what to say the feeling that runs through your mind. You’re scared. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. When I realized we were under attack I got busy doing what I was told, passing ammunition and getting that sort of stuff done.”

There’s a reason they are called The Greatest Generation. Schab continued his career in the Navy, and after the war, he studied aerospace engineering, even working with the Apollo program.

Thanks to his daughter’s organization and ingenuity, Schab was able to attend the Remembrance Ceremony for the fourth time. Heinrichs raised $16,742 from 298 donations. Hawaii News Now reported on this year’s visit, as they did the year prior.

“I’m not worthy. Who’s worth all this?” Schab said, holding back tears as he remembered his friends and many others who lost their lives that day.

“Those are the ones I want to salute,” he said.

Schab said he’ll keep coming back for those who can no longer be here.

“I wouldn’t have missed it,” he said. “You could have gotten me here in a hospital bed.”



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