A version of this story first appeared on USO.org in 2016, when retired Navy Lt. Jim Downing was 103 years old at the time. Downing passed away on February 13, 2018, at the age of 104. He was the second-oldest Pearl Harbor survivor at the time. Ray Chavez, the oldest survivor of Pearl Harbor, passed away just a few months later at the age of 106.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado–Retired Navy Lt. Jim Downing was sitting down to breakfast when he heard the bombs start dropping down the road at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. What the USS West Virginia sailor saw and did next became one of the many legends from that fateful day.
Downing - who at the time of this interview was 103 years old and the second-oldest Pearl Harbor survivor - welcomed the USO into to his Colorado Springs home to share his story. USO Colorado Springs honored Downing at its annual gala in October 2016.
Sign up for our emails for the latest USO news.
More from the USO
Jan 17, 2020
World War II "Rosies" Push to Receive the Congressional Gold Medal
World War II "Rosies" helped build the war machines their brothers, fathers and uncles would use to defeat the Germans and the Japanese. Now, they are pushing to collectively receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award, for their work work.