SAN DIEGO –
Former crewmember of the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) and survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Lauren Bruner, visited with Sailors stationed aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100), Sept. 19.
“As I was running to my battle station from the main deck, I was wounded by machine gun fire from a Japanese fighter plane as I got to the director station,” said Bruner. “Within ten minutes after the attack began, we were hit with a ‘lucky bomb’ that penetrated the decks, falling between gun turret 1 and 2.”
Bruner received the Purple Heart after being wounded in battle on the Arizona.
Of the 335 men that survived the attack, less than 100 were actually aboard Arizona at the time. 1,177 Sailor and Marines lost their lives, including Adm. Isaac Kidd, the namesake of USS Kidd.
“Bruner was serving in the gunnery department aboard USS Arizona and was 15 feet away from the namesake of our warship when Adm. Kidd died,” said USS Kidd Commanding Officer, Cmdr. T.J. Zerr. “Adm. Kidd was the first flag officer in World War II who was killed in battle and for Bruner to have been there and survived, and then to be here on our ship, telling his account of the events that happened on that historic day is amazing and it is a great honor for us to be a part of this experience.”
After listening to stories from Bruner about his time in the service, Zerr presented him with a command ball cap, coin and t-shirt. Bruner, Zerr said, set the example of what it means to serve and what it means to fight for what you believe in.
“For someone who has been in the Navy and has made this their life, and for the Sailors that serve, it is a great feeling to be around someone that has served with such honor and distinction in a moment in our nation’s history that changed not only the path of America but the entire world,” said Zerr. “He was part of a small group of individuals that made a huge different that we have all benefited from our entire lives growing up.”
“It’s important that Sailors know the history of our nation and get to meet the individuals who gave us our freedom and made history. Their honor, courage and commitment throughout the attack on Pearl Harbor is what gives us the strength to keep going each and every day,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Heather Johnson. “The reason why I joined the military is because of people like Bruner and what they have done for us. I feel really honored to be here today because not many people get the chance to have this experience.”