Pearl Harbor Veteran Tells His Story

SCRANTON -- Lackawanna County honored part of its history on Wednesday that had been hidden in plain sight.

A group spent two years searching for county natives who were at the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago. One of the last names they found turned out to be one of the most memorable.

The Lackawanna County 9/11 Memorial Committee has been compiling those names for a plaque on Courthouse Square in Scranton.

Two of the living Pearl Harbor veterans passed away in December and January, but a few weeks ago, they found Walter Pasiak who is very full of life.

At each Lackawanna County commissioner's meeting, a veteran leads the pledge of allegiance.

When Army veteran Walter Pasiak of Scranton took the podium, he grabbed the attention of everyone in the room.

Pasiak is believed to be Lackawanna County's only living Pearl Harbor veteran. He's 94 and still knows how to work a room.

After his moment of well-deserved recognition, we talked with him about his 22-year military career that all started at Pearl Harbor when he was just 19.

"I remember vividly coming out of the mess hall and going, after having breakfast, and these planes coming over Pearl Harbor and when these storage, gasoline storage, blew up, we all headed for the supply room to get whatever weapons were available to fire at any aircraft coming over," Pasiak recalled.

Walter Pasiak's name is not on the plaque honoring Lackawanna County natives who were at Pearl Harbor. That's because in the amount of time since this was dedicated back in December of 2016, this list has more than tripled.

Walter is one of a list of now 108 Pearl Harbor veterans from Lackawanna County. He was one of the last to be tracked down.

"i know a guy Charles, and he's looking for people who were in Pearl Harbor. I said, 'oh, jeez, I was in Pearl Harbor,'" said Pasiak.

"The greatest generation, the World War II generation that saved this world, is passing, and we want to keep their memory alive as long as we can. As long as the courthouse stands and that granite slab stands, that plaque will be there," said Charlie Spano, Lackawanna County 9/11 Memorial Committee.

Lackawanna County officials plan to replace and re-dedicate the Pearl Harbor plaque in April. Walter Pasiak is planning to be there and they hope to have a representative from as many of those 108 families there as possible.