MATTHEWS, N.C. -- A 98-year-old Charlotte man was there that day December 7, 1941.

A Navy pilot, Wes Ruth was the first in the air after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

His job was to help spot the Japanese submarines.

He spoke today at his Matthews retirement community about it and said he didn't expect to survive the mission.

When I was in the plane with the guns, I was concerned this was a one way trip. You didn't think you could come back. They didn't either because they didn't know where the Japanese were, Ruth said.

For her age, Ruth is in incredible shape and very independent. The Navy awarded Ruth its highest honor recently the Navy cross. He has eight grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and tries to talk about his experience as often as he can.

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