HONOLULU (NNS) -- A burial ceremony in honor of Pearl Harbor survivor Signalman 1st Class Paul Goodyear was held Nov. 10 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
The event in the historic Punchbowl Cemetery was attended by Sailors, friends and family members of Goodyear, who passed away May 23 at the age of 96.
Presiding over the ceremony was Pearl Harbor Survivors Liaison, Jim Taylor, who gave an overview of Goodyear's life and spoke about Goodyear's experiences the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.
Born May 6, 1918 in Belleville, Michigan, Goodyear joined the Naval Reserve at the age of 21 in September of 1940. After attending signalman school, Goodyear reported to his first command, the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB 37), in March 1941.
Working on the signal bridge aboard USS Oklahoma the morning of Dec. 7, Goodyear was one of the first Sailors aboard USS Oklahoma to realize an attack was occurring when he witnessed a Japanese bomb strike a hangar at Ford Island about a half-mile away.
After the call to abandon the ship was made, Goodyear went on to aid in the defense of the battleship USS Maryland (BB 46).
"He would not want to be called a hero," said Taylor. "He would tell you the real heroes are buried over there, the ones who didn't make it through the war, the ones who didn't make it home to live a long life. He would not say he was a hero, he would say he was just doing his job."
Goodyear was reassigned to the battleship USS Indiana (BB 58) following USS Oklahoma's capsizing. He served aboard USS Indiana until 1943 when he was assigned to the staff of battleship division eight on board battleship USS Massachusetts (BB 59), where he served until the end of World War II.
Goodyear went on to become a driving force in the creation of the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island.
Ed Vezey, Pearl Harbor survivor and shipmate of Goodyear, also attended the ceremony and said Goodyear never stopped being a shipmate to the crew of USS Oklahoma.
"There are two words that characterize Paul [Goodyear], "shipmate" and "caring," said Vezey. "Paul cared. He cared not only for his friends, but he cared for the rest of us. He was our nominal leader to those of us who called ourselves USS Oklahoma survivors. He knew all of us by first name, knew most of our parents, family and kept in touch with us. He got us all together from time to time and we had some wonderful times in those reunions. He just couldn't stop caring about the USS Oklahoma and all its crew."
At the end of the ceremony Goodyear received full military honors for his dedication and service including a rifle salute by the Joint Base Honors and Ceremonial Guard and the playing of Taps by a Navy bugler. His close friend, Gloria Smith, was presented with the national ensign during a flag presentation.
More than 13,000 Soldiers and Sailors who died during World War II are laid to rest in the Punchbowl Cemetery, whose Hawaiian name, "Puowaina," means "Hill of Sacrifice."
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/pacenhawaii/.