Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Robert Erly | Pearl Harbor survivor, 100

Robert Erly, 100, a retired Navy rear admiral upper half who was a decorated survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died July 31 at a hospital in San Diego.

On Dec. 7, 1941, then-Navy Lt. j.g. Erly was aboard the destroyer Cassin at Pearl Harbor when the attack brought the United States into World War II.

As bombs fell on the Cassin, the destroyer Downes and the battleship Pennsylvania - all of which were together in dry dock - he organized a firefighting squad on the burning ships, his family said. They hosed down torpedoes and depth charges aboard the ships to limit further damage.

The three ships were repaired after the attack and returned to duty. Rear Adm. Erly received a Navy Commendation Medal with a combat V device.

In the war years after Pearl Harbor, he served aboard destroyers in the Atlantic and the Pacific. During the Korean War, he commanded the destroyer James C. Owens, which in 1952 exchanged fire with enemy shore batteries. For this action, he received a Bronze Star.

He also served as deputy chief of staff to the commander of the Atlantic Fleet. - Washington Post

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