One of the last USS Arizona survivors at Pearl Harbor dies at 98

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One of five remaining survivors from the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lonnie Cook, died Wednesday at his California home. He was 98 years old.”He is a hero to the United States and I can share that part of him with everybody,” said Pat Cunanan, Cook’s daughter.He served eight years as a gunner’s mate in the U.S. Navy.A fateful switch on Dec. 7, 1941 saved his life. “He switched shower times with a buddy. The buddy had requested it,” Cunanan said. “Had he not switched shower times, dad would have been killed that day.”Instead, he saved many lives. The ship was hit multiple times in the first few minutes of the attack. One bomb that caused a massive explosion killed more than 1,100 sailors and Marines on board. “Dad helped so many men get off board. He didn’t consider himself a hero for it. He was just in the right place at the right time,” Cunanan said. Cook went on to fight in World War II and was later recognized for his service.Over his eight-year career, he fought in 12 battles, served on seven ships and received many medals and awards.He retired from the Navy in 1948 and went on to a 20-year career as a welder, working on various areas around the Central Coast, including the Moss Landing Smoke Stacks. He was also an avid trap shooter, hunter and fisherman. In 1968, 27 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Cook returned to the Hawaii site for the first time with his wife and daughter.”We went out and went onto the memorial. He had goose bumps. … Seeing everything again is what it looked like to me,” Cunanan said. That was one of Cook’s three visits back to Pearl Harbor. His final trip was for the 70th anniversary in 2011.His daughter said he may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. “It is a loss. It’s a big loss, but I want to celebrate what he did, what he had, what he did for others,” Cunanan said.Cook’s military funeral will be held in his hometown, Morris, Oklahoma, where he’ll be buried next to his wife of 69 years.There are four remaining USS Arizona survivors: Don Stratton, Lauren Bruner, Lou Conter and Ken Potts.

One of five remaining survivors from the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lonnie Cook, died Wednesday at his California home. He was 98 years old.

“He is a hero to the United States and I can share that part of him with everybody,” said Pat Cunanan, Cook’s daughter.

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He served eight years as a gunner’s mate in the U.S. Navy.

A fateful switch on Dec. 7, 1941 saved his life.

“He switched shower times with a buddy. The buddy had requested it,” Cunanan said. “Had he not switched shower times, dad would have been killed that day.”

WTAE-TV

Instead, he saved many lives. The ship was hit multiple times in the first few minutes of the attack. One bomb that caused a massive explosion killed more than 1,100 sailors and Marines on board.

“Dad helped so many men get off board. He didn’t consider himself a hero for it. He was just in the right place at the right time,” Cunanan said.

Cook went on to fight in World War II and was later recognized for his service.

Over his eight-year career, he fought in 12 battles, served on seven ships and received many medals and awards.

He retired from the Navy in 1948 and went on to a 20-year career as a welder, working on various areas around the Central Coast, including the Moss Landing Smoke Stacks. He was also an avid trap shooter, hunter and fisherman.

In 1968, 27 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Cook returned to the Hawaii site for the first time with his wife and daughter.

“We went out and went onto the memorial. He had goose bumps. … Seeing everything again is what it looked like to me,” Cunanan said.

That was one of Cook’s three visits back to Pearl Harbor. His final trip was for the 70th anniversary in 2011.

WTAE-TV

His daughter said he may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten.

“It is a loss. It’s a big loss, but I want to celebrate what he did, what he had, what he did for others,” Cunanan said.

Cook’s military funeral will be held in his hometown, Morris, Oklahoma, where he’ll be buried next to his wife of 69 years.

There are four remaining USS Arizona survivors: Don Stratton, Lauren Bruner, Lou Conter and Ken Potts.