Pearl Harbor survivor's ashes laid to rest in USS Arizona
• Photo gallery: Pearl Harbor Survivor Honored
By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Though he was was loath to discuss the subject, what Anthony Schubert saw from the deck of the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, would color the way he saw the world for the next 68 years of his life.
Yesterday, amid a small gathering of friends, comrades and officers, Schubert's remains were returned to the sunken battleship where 1,117 of Schubert's fellow sailors lost their lives during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Schubert, one of a dwindling number of surviving crew members from the Arizona, died in Hutchinson, Kan., on Aug. 12 at the age of 90. His family arranged to have his remains interred on the ship, a privilege extended to all surviving crew members.
Schubert's daughter Tonay Hayward said she and her family only learned of the option after her father had passed.
"He didn't know about this," said Hayward, who attended the service with her husband, John, daughter Jacky and Jacky's friend Willi Schrom. "He wanted to be buried in Kansas. He wanted a naval funeral. And I would not have discussed this with him. The Arizona was a taboo subject when I was growing up."
Still, Hayward said she had no doubt that her father would have been pleased and honored to be interred with the more than 900 Arizona crewmen whose remains were never recovered from the ship.
DAY OF THE ATTACK
Schubert, a native of Lagmond, Kan., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1940 and was quickly assigned to the USS Arizona.
According to a report he filed with the Navy about his experience on Dec. 7, 1941, Schubert, then an ensign, was in a bathroom shaving shortly before 8 a.m. when he heard an air raid siren, then the sound of scattered gunfire.
He went to his quarters and saw "several low-winged monoplanes at low altitude flying away from the line of moored battleships, apparently having finished a bombing or torpedo attack."
Schubert donned dungarees and a pair of slippers and headed to his designated station. By this time, the ship was being rocked by explosions and its bow was sinking so quickly that the mooring lines were snapping.
Under the direction of Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Fuqua, who would later be awarded a Medal of Honor for his work that day, Schubert opened hatches and helped load wounded sailors onto rescue boats sent by the USS Solace.
With the ship rapidly sinking and oil burning on the surface of the water, Schubert and other survivors transported two boatfuls of wounded to Ford Island. Only after he had completed his duties did Schubert seek medical care for a cut on his head and burns to his hands and arms.
"He saw his young comrades destroyed in an instant and he never got over that," Hayward said. "Today, they do a lot of counseling, but he never had that."
Hayward said what little she knew of her father's experiences that day came via her mother, Edythe. Still, Hayward said, the events of that day haunted her father for the rest of his life.
Schubert served in the military for 13 years, retiring as a lieutenant commander to join the Arabian American Oil Co. He later taught at the University of Virginia.
"He was always aware of the fleeting nature of life," Hayward said. "He took advantage of opportunities and he was very achievement-oriented, but he also knew that he wasn't going to be mired in materialism. He wasn't concerned with conspicuous consumption because he knew it could all be taken away in an instant."
'HE'D BE VERY PROUD'
Jacky Hayward, who lives in San Francisco, remembers her grandfather as somewhat withdrawn but very intelligent. She recognized his love and concern in his admonitions to drink more milk and to be careful of traveling on the Bay Bridge.
Hayward said she was moved by yesterday's service and a bit daunted by her family's direct connection to one of the pivotal moments of American history.
The ceremony included a two-bell ceremony by the Fleet Reserve Association, a rifle salute from the Navy Region Hawai'i Ceremonial Guard and the playing of "Taps."
Schubert was also honored in remarks by speakers Paul DePrey, the national park superintendent of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and Capt. Lawrence Scruggs.
With a massive American flag set at half-staff whipping in the breeze overhead, Hayward transferred her father's remains to a quartet of Navy divers, who held the urn above water as they positioned themselves above the open barbette of the ship's gun turret No. 4. The divers then slowly descended beneath the choppy water to place the urn into a large open slot in the ship.
Schubert was the 32nd surviving crew member to be interred on the ship.
Of the 300 Arizona crew members who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, roughly 20 are still alive.
"The ceremony was enormously touching and moving and I know my father was watching down upon it," Tonay Hayward said. "I know he'd be very proud."