Pearl Harbor Veteran Returns to USCGC TANEY for the First Time in 70 Years

July 6, 2016

On Friday, June 24th, Historic Ships in Balimore’s USCGC Taney welcomed Ship’s Cook 1st Class, Howard Hayes, on board for his first visit in over 70 years. At 96, Howard “Cookie” Hayes is the last known member of the ship’s crew who was aboard the morning of December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Hayes and his daughter Shirley were flown from their home in Reno, NV to Baltimore as guests of Honor Flights Nevada, a volunteer organization set up to fly veterans to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. In an effort to check off a remaining item on his lifetime bucket list, Mr. Hayes and his daughter Shirley, contacted Honor Flights Nevada with the hope of bringing Mr. Hayes to see his ship one last time.

On his way to meet 50 others veterans in DC, Hayes spent several hours visiting his ship, reminiscing about his World War II service, and even conducted an impromptu tour of the ship’s galley to members of the media, volunteers, and museum staff. He conducted interviews, posed for pictures, and was proud to receive certificates of appreciation from local government officials.

When the first bombs were dropped on that fateful morning, Hayes recalls being in the galley when the alarms sounded and immediately taking off to his battle station, high up on the ships’ superstructure. “You look at your feet and say, what are you waiting for?” he said.

Serving our country for over 50 years, the Taney saw action in both theaters of combat in World War II, serving as command ship at the Battle of Okinawa, and as part of a fleet escort in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. She also served in the Vietnam War in Operation Market Time. Taney also patrolled the seas working in drug interdiction, fisheries protection, and search and rescue efforts.

On December 7, 1986, after more than 50 years of continuous service, Taney was decommisioned at Portsmouth, Virginia, and donated to the City of Baltimore to serve as a memorial and museum. Taney is the only ship left afloat that participated in the defense of Pearl Harbor and remains open to visitors who want to walk in the footsteps of men like Howard Hayes.

The Taney is open for visitors seven days a week at Pier 5 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. For more information about planning a visit to Historic Ships in Balitmore go to historicships.org.