SAN DIEGO – President Donald Trump has signed a bill naming the California Post Office after Ray Chavez, the oldest survivor of a 1941 Japanese attack on U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
He “certainly left his mark on this community and our country,” said Scott Peters, the U.S. envoy to California who funded the bill at a news conference last year.
Chavez joined the Navy in 1938, joining the U.S.S. He was aboard the Condor Tunnel, the first naval ship to announce the sighting of a Japanese submarine in nearby waters before December 7, 1941, which attracted the United States to World War II.
The war killed 2,335 U.S. soldiers and 68 civilians.
Chavez, who died at the age of 106, grew up in two of San Diego’s oldest areas, Old Town and Logan Heights. He returned to his hometown after the war to work as a ground guard at the University of California, San Diego, where he later ran a landscaping business in Powell.
In May 2018, a few months before suffering from pneumonia, Chavez traveled to Washington to meet Trump at the White House.
Two days later, Trump said of that player, “What a guy. And, Ray, you really are an inspiration to everyone here today and to our great country.”
After Chavez’s death, Trump said, “his legacy has always been embedded in the rich history of our country.”
When asked about her service, daughter Kathleen Chavez said in 2018, “He would shrug his shoulders and shake his head and say, ‘I was doing my job.’