Saturday, November 21, 2015

Oldest Remaining Survivor Of USS Arizona Dead At 98

, HuffPost Hawaii

John Anderson, the oldest remaining survivor of the USS Arizona, which sank when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, died Saturday in Roswell, New Mexico.

Anderson's death leaves just seven known surviving Arizona crewmen -- all of whom are in their 90s. Of the roughly 1,500 crew members assigned to the Arizona, 1,177 were killed on Dec. 7, 1941.

Anderson died of complications after surgery to repair a broken hip, his son John Anderson Jr. said. He was 98.

"He was on top of everything until he passed away, he didn't miss a beat," his son told The St. Paul Pioneer Press on Monday.

Last year, Anderson was among four USS Arizona survivors who traveled to Pearl Harbor for an official survivor gathering of the USS Arizona Reunion Association.

Anderson enlisted in the Navy on March 16, 1937, and reported onboard the USS Arizona on Dec. 6, 1940, a year and one day before the Pearl Harbor attack, according to the USS Arizona Reunion Association.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Anderson, then 24, was setting up for church and preparing for breakfast when the explosions started. As the attack unfolded, he helped evacuate wounded sailors and was eventually forced to abandon ship by his commanding officer. He later returned to the vessel to search for his twin brother, Delbert, but he never found him.

While Anderson's actions were no doubt heroic, he seemed uncomfortable at the suggestion that he was a hero.

"I was just doing my job," he told The Arizona Republic in September 2014. "I did what I had to do."

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">The USS Arizona is pictured in flames after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.</span>The USS Arizona is pictured in flames after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Anderson served in the Navy until 1976. After moving to Roswell, he became a country music disk jockey, known as "Cactus Jack," and later a television meteorologist and real estate agent.

Some of Anderson's ashes will reportedly be interred in the No. 4 turret on the USS Arizona. The bodies of some 900 men remain entombed in the ship's sunken hull.

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, which ultimately brought the U.S. into World War II, the Japanese destroyed nearly 20 American naval vessels and 200 airplanes. More than 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors died.

The known surviving crew members are Louis Conter, Lonnie Cook, Raymond Haerry, Clare Hetrick, Ken Potts, Don Stratton and Lauren Bruner, who is now the oldest remaining survivorat 95 years old, according to the USS Arizona Reunion Association.

In the below video, Anderson describes in detail the events that unfolded in the infamous attack on the U.S.



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