Howard Hayes stepped from the gangplank onto the deck of the Coast Guard cutter Taney. The last time he was aboard the ship was more than 70 years ago.

Hayes, 96, is the last known surviving veteran of the cutter’s crew from the attack on Pearl Harbor. He usually served as a cook, but when the alarm sounded on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Hayes was thrust into combat. His battle station was high above the decks manning a range finder to target incoming Japanese planes.

“You run, I’m telling you,” Hayes said. “You look at your feet and say, ‘What are you waiting for?'”

Now tied at Pier 5 in the Inner Harbor as one of the Historic Ships in Baltimore, the Taney engaged the attacking Japanese planes, and Hayes remembered being able to practically wave at the enemy pilots as they passed overhead.

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