03 January 2016

Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor/USS Oklahoma Passes Away

We are saddened to share the news that USS Oklahoma survivor Ed Vezey has passed away. Former Lt. Cmdr. Edward E. Vezey, Jr., went to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, every year for the USS Oklahoma memorial ceremony. The trip renewed his sacred bond with his brothers. It also gave him strength to tell their story and legacy.

Frank Flaherty was Vezey's roommate on the USS Oklahoma. He gave his life to save his crew. 

"They all gave him credit for getting them out of the turret," said Vez...ey in a recent interview. Flaherty was awarded the Medal of Honor. His portrait sits prominently in Vezey's living room. Vezey talked to Frank's painting every day while working out on his treadmill.

On Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked at Pearl Harbor, the USS Oklahoma capsized and 429 crew members were killed when the ship was struck by enemy torpedoes. Paul Goodyear, head of the national USS Oklahoma Family Inc., said. "It won't be long before there's none of us left,". "I worry that some of the history of all of Pearl Harbor will be lost."

Vezey grew up in College Station, Texas, and joined the Navy in 1940. After the war, Vezey worked as an engineer for General Electric and then retired to a ranch in Center, Colo. After the death of his wife, Vezey moved to Moore, Oklahoma.

Vezey said he fell in love with Oklahoma when he worked on the committee that oversaw the building of the USS Oklahoma Memorial in Hawaii, which was dedicated on Dec. 7, 2007.

Vezey was an anti-aircraft gunner on the USS Oklahoma. Vezey and his roommate, Frank Flaherty, were in their quarters when they heard the call to man the battle stations. Vezey headed to his anti-aircraft turret. Flaherty went to the ship's turret. Flaherty, who died that day, was awarded the Medal of Honor for staying in his turret and holding a flashlight to let others escape. On the living room wall in Vezey's home is a painting of the USS Oklahoma Memorial. On the hallway and above his bed are illustrations of the USS Oklahoma.

Rest in peace, Mr. Vezey.