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    Ash-Scattering Ceremony Reunites Pearl Harbor Survivor with Shipmates

    Ash-Scattering Ceremony Reunites Pearl Harbor Survivor with Shipmates

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Somers Steelman | 160622-N-AV234-278 PEARL HARBOR (June 22, 2016) Kendra Erico O'Connell scatters ashes...... read more read more

    PEARL HARBOR (NNS) - An ash-scattering ceremony was held for Pearl Harbor Survivor Torpedoman 1st Class Richard P. Erico, June 23, at the USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

    Sailors, friends and family members of Erico, who passed away June 16, at the age of 87, attended the event, which overlooked the sunken USS Utah.

    Jim Taylor, Pearl Harbor survivors’ liaison, who presided over the ceremony, gave an overview of Erico’s life and spoke about his experiences on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

    Born on June 22, 1922 at Peaks Islands, Maine, Erico joined the Navy in 1940 and became a torpedoman.

    On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Erico was serving aboard the destroyer USS Case (DD 370).

    According to Taylor, Erico was preparing to go ashore to play baseball when the attack began.

    “Bombs were dropping everywhere, guns firing in return,” said Taylor. “He was part of an ammo handling team, there wasn’t time to be mad at the Japanese. Everyone had a job to do and they did it.”

    The ship was able to get underway the next day and was successful in sinking a Japanese mini-submarine. As time went by, USS Case escorted ships carrying dependents and wounded personnel.

    Erico spent the duration of the war aboard USS Case, participating in numerous battles in the Pacific, receiving nine Battle Stars.

    “Richard [Erico] died on the 16th day of June, 2009,” said Taylor. “A hero to his country, and a hero to his family. His wish was to make a final voyage to Pearl Harbor and have his ashes scattered here so he could be with his brothers lost that terrible day in December of 1941.”

    At the end of the ceremony, Erico received full military honors for his dedication and loyalty to service, including a rifle salute by the Joint Base Honors and Ceremonial Guard and the playing of Taps by a Navy bugler. Erico’s daughters, Kendra Erico O’Connell and Kim Erico Macisaac, were both presented with the national ensign.

    It’s a little bitter sweet,” said O’Connel, regarding scattering her father’s ashes at the USS Utah Memorial.

    “But it provides a closure, because this is something he wanted,” said O’Connell. “He felt guilt all of those years surviving when so many other people did not. This is what he wanted and that was our job, to fulfill his final wishes.”

    “Dad loved the Navy,” said Macisaac. “He always regretted not staying in. He always wanted to go back to Navy after the war…As Kendra said, it’s closure for us. Dad wanted to be here and now he is.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.22.2016
    Date Posted: 06.23.2016 17:37
    Story ID: 202298
    Location: PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII, US

    Web Views: 243
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN