Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Matthew Vann and Joe Fryer

It was the day that changed his life: December 7, 1941.

Beverly Clyde Wilborn, better known as B.C., was just a 20-year-old sailor aboard the USS Maryland when the surprise Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor started.

"You just went ahead and done what you was trained to do," Wilborn said, recalling memories of the fateful day. "Fear wasn't there but you could see what was going on ... bodies in the water."

But now, 75 years later at age 95, Willborn is making his first return to Pearl Harbor since the attacks. He’s still haunted by what he saw which is why he was in no rush to return.

"I can't sleep at night," he said. "I have bad dreams."

Related: Thousands Pay Tribute at Pearl Harbor, 75 Years After Attack

But encouraged by his family, Wilborn finally returned to Hawaii along with dozens of other veterans who served during the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Nearly 80 veterans flew into Honolulu International Airport on an American Airlines honor flight this weekend — about half of them survivors of Pearl Harbor. With many of these veterans now in their 90s or even older, Wednesday's 75th anniversary event is considered the last major gathering of survivors.

That’s exactly why active U.S. military personnel are making the most of their chance to meet and learn from some of these survivors.

"This is, in many ways, is a last-of-a-lifetime opportunities," said Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Photos: Remembering Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later

Swift represents some 140,000 sailors in the Pacific. He recently got the chance to meet with Wilborn and expressed his gratitude.

"You woke up the morning of December 7th, just like everyday sailors," Swift said to Wilborn about his service and of those that served along with him. "But you retired that night as heroes."