- Category: USS Arizona Survivor Stories
- Last Updated: Monday, 23 November 2015 23:08
- Published: Tuesday, 16 March 2004 00:00
Lonnie David Cook
Seaman First Class on 7 December 1941
Submitted by Lonnie D. Cook
I was born in Morris, Oklahoma. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 4/3/40 and went on board U.S.S. Arizona for duty in June 1940.
On December 7, 1941 I was to go to Honolulu on liberty, so I was up and took a shower in the bow of the ship and returned to lower handling room of turret #3. I was changing clothes in front of my locker when the bombs began to drop. Chief Turret Captain came in the turret said Jap's were bombing us. We started up in the turret to our battle stations. I was on the shell deck when the bow of the ship blew up. The turret crew gathered up in the gun room and it was very smoky. It was thought by our leader that we were being gassed. They had us pull off our "T" shirts and stuff them in the sight ports. We soon found the smoke was inside the turret. We were told to go out on the Starboard Quarter deck and get life rafts in the water. We took off all the burned & wounded men we could find. When we were told to abandon ship, the ship had sunk far enough so I could step off the deck into a motor launch. I was taken to the bomb shelter on Fort Island.
Three days after the bombing I volunteered for duty on the Destroyer U.S.S. Patterson for temporary duty. Later I was transferred to U.S.S. Aylwin (DD355). Made raid on Rabul and saw Lt. O'Hara shoot down 5 Jap. bombers. Went to corral sea battle, then Midway battle.
Went to Gunnery school in '43 and onto put the U.S.S. Pringle in Commission in Boston. Went to Africa and later thru the canal and back to Pacific. Hit Marshall Islands, Guam, Saipan, Tinnean, both sides of Philippines.
Transferred to Charleston, S.C. to put U.S.S. Hall (DD583) in commission. Went back thru Panama Canal and helped landing troops on Iwo Jima, and then on Okinawa.
When Okinawa surrendered we came back to San Francisco & I never had to go back.
Moved back to Oklahoma in 1994 with wife of 53 years, Marietta. We have 1 daughter Patricia, and 2 Grand daughters Jeni and Katie.
Information researched and compiled by I. B. Nease and N. A. Nease and provided on USSARIZONA.ORG free of charge.
May not be reprinted in any form, other than educational use, without prior written permission of the author.