National News

One of five USS Arizona survivors remembers the attack 76 years later

Posted December 8, 2017 12:18 p.m. EST

— The Last Man's Club, a group of local veterans of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, held its annual memorial meeting on December 7.

This year there are only two surviving members from the Tulsa-area.

One of the survivors is 97-year-old Lonnie Cook who was onboard the USS Arizona. He's only one of five survivors to be alive out of 335 members of the battleship who survived the bombing in 1941.

"I was standing in front of my locker... getting ready to go ashore," remembers Cook, "And then the chief came down to the compartment and tumbled in to the bottom and said the japs are bombing us."

More than 2,000 Americans died on the Day of Infamy, and more than 1,000 were onboard the USS Arizona.

"Some of them were burned so bad. They called me by name. I couldn't tell who they were," said Cook.

It was a difficult day for those who served. Cook says despite the tragedy, he feels lucky to be able to share that part of history with his wife of 67 years and future generations.

The Last Man's Club also honored 93-year-old Arles Cole, another survivor who was on the USS West Virginia.

The veterans did the traditional tolling of the bell, ringing it twice for each of the 69 local members who have passed away.