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One of the few remaining Pearl Harbor veterans dies in San Antonio at 100

Sig ChristensonMay 16, 2019

The memories of how World War II started were always clear for retired Army Col. Bill Hayes, who was entering Fort Shafter in Honolulu to play golf on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, when he saw soldiers wearing combat helmets and carrying rifles dart out of their barracks.

At first, he thought it was an exercise until a friend cried, “The Japs have attacked!”

Hayes died earlier this week at a San Antonio nursing home at 100, leaving only three Pearl Harbor survivors in the area: Navy Radioman 1st Class William St. John, 97; retired Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Platt, 98; and Gilbert Meyer, 95, a retired chief petty officer who served aboard the USS Utah. Meyer had been living in Lytle but he couldn’t be reached Thursday.

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