CARMICHAEL (CBS13) — On this day “that will live in infamy,” one local man is among the very few remaining survivors.
98-year-old Lonnie Cook, who lives in Carmichael, was aboard the U.S.S. Arizona the morning Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor.
The then 19-year-old Navy Seaman was nearly shaken from the boots he had just put on. He told CBS13, “I was back down below decks in front of my locker changing clothes when they dropped the first bomb.”
More than 1,100 men onboard the U.S.S. Arizona would die that day. Of the 300 who survived, only five are still alive today. Lonnie is one of them.
Cook tells us how he survived while halfway down a barbette from a gun turret, telling us “I was in the bottom about half way in it and that’s what kept me alive.”
These days, Cook spends time with a family he came very close to never having. Until recently, he would go back to Hawaii every year on December 7. Age and time have caught up with this American hero and his travel is now limited.
His daughter, Pat Cunanan, described what it’s like to be his daughter.
“Oh, I’m going to cry,” Pat says, “I’m extremely proud and honored.”
Just as Lonnie will tell you, he was honored to serve his country and so grateful to be one of the few survivors left from that fateful day.