HONOLULU, Hawaii (KHNL/Gray News) - Lauren Bruner, who was one of just four remaining survivors from the USS Arizona, died Tuesday in California at the age of 98.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Bruner was a 21-year-old fire controlman third class. He was the second to the last to leave the sinking battleship.
Bruner, fellow survivor Donald Stratton, and four others narrowly escaped by pulling themselves along a rope connected to another vessel.
“They were so young and they’ve seen so many things that people just can’t fathom today of what they did to keep our country safe,” said Stratton’s son, Randy.
Bruner was wounded by enemy fire and suffered burns on more than 73% of his body.
More than 1,100 sailors and Marines from the ship died.
His story was chronicled in a recent memoir, “Second to the Last to Leave USS Arizona.”
The Purple Heart recipient visited Hawaii several times over the years, and will be interred on the USS Arizona with his fallen comrades.
“His passing is mourned by thousands of Americans and people across the world,” said Jay Blount, chief of interpretation and education at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. “I’ll never forget the joy and genuine nature of who he was as a person.”
Of the more than 330 USS Arizona survivors, only three now remain.
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