James R. "Bob" Haney. Photo from The Courier.
ATKINS, Ark. (KTHV) - A soldier's life was celebrated today in Atkins. James R. "Bob" Haney died at 89 on July 13.
Haney received the Congressional Medal of Honor for Veterans of the attack on Pearl Harbor. After serving four years in the Navy, he served three years in the Army during the Korean War.
THV was invited by the Haney family to attend the funeral service, where Bob Haney was described as a man with a gentle spirit.
"He was a man of God...always with this big smile on his face," said Reverend Rebecca Wiseman of First United Methodist Church of Atkins.
Haney loved to fish, dance, and spend time with his family, and his service to the nation extended around the world.
"He answered the call before the call was given. He joined the navy before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was at Pearl Harbor for about 11 months before that day," said nephew Stephen Ring.
Ring interviewed his uncle for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project in 2004.
"He was assigned to a destroyer, mine-layer called the USS Preble," Ring explained.
The Preble was in repair across from battleship row in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.
From the 2004 interview, Bob Haney gave his account of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"We looked up and about that time, two planes went right over the top of the ship, and it had rising sun on it, we could see. And the chief said, 'That's not one of ours.' And in a minute, everything broke loose, guns going off and bombs exploding," Haney said. "And when the Arizona blew up, we felt the impact all the way across the bay there. I just lucked out. I bit the bullet."
Among the military honors awarded to him: the Congressional Medal of Honor for Veterans of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Good Conduct medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal, and the American Expedition Medal.
"Nobody drafted Bob Haney. They stepped up," Ring added.
Bob Haney, answered the call of service, and was buried with full military honors on Monday.
On the 70th Anniversary of the attack, last December, it was reported that there are less than 10 Arkansas Pearl Harbor veterans still living.