As one of the last remaining Pearl Harbor survivors, 104-year old Ray Chavez returned to Oahu, Hawaii … but not before hitting the weights! Three years and 20 lbs. of muscle later, the sailor looked better than ever attending the WWII memorial celebration.
Chavez, ‘104-years young,’ booked the island bound flight to accept an award from the U.S. Navy. In his younger years, the soldier witnessed one of the most devastating events in history.
“I will remember [Pearl Harbor] for the rest of my life,” the veteran said before boarding the plane with his daughter. “It seemed like I only slept for about 5 minutes when [my wife] came in and told me ‘we’re being attacked.'”
At the time of the bombings, Chavez was aboard the USS Condor, a U.S. navy minesweeper The sailor woke in utter disbelief and left his bunk to take a look outside. Sure enough, the once peaceful harbor had transformed into a gruesome battle ground.
“I got very emotional that day. There were so many, many innocent people that were lost,” he said.
75 years later, Chavez made another trip to Hawaii, but not before hitting the gym! After working with trainer Sean Thompson, the 104-year-old returned to ‘tip top’ shape. He was definitely ready for the beach after a whopping 20 lb. muscle gain!
“When [other clients] say ‘I’m too old to do this or that,’ I say, ‘Look at Ray!’” the trainer said. “That excuse doesn’t fly anymore.”
After a five-hour plane ride, the war vet received a pile of colorful leis in a traditional Hawaiian welcome. Chavez slowly made his way through the crowd only to discover an entourage of sailors, simply waiting to shake his hand.
“We’re going back because I feel part of it,” the 104-year-old explained. “…over there I feel different, completely different. I feel like I am one with them, and they are part of me.”
Check out Chavez’s incredible journey in this touching news clip!