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USS Arizona bombing survivor visits UA

Posted at 5:59 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 19:59:57-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - One of only seven remaining survivors from the attack on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor was in Tucson Thursday.
 
WWII veteran Lauren Bruner has come to look at the University of Arizona Library's Special Collection of USS Arizona memorabilia many times. At 95-years-old, Bruner said the pieces still bring back many memories. 
 
"The camaraderie of the old times and what not, shipmates that I knew then," said Mr. Bruner, who laughed as he said he remembers the good times and "a few of the bad ones" too.
 
However, Mr. Bruner still cannot talk about the bad memories, especially Dec. 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed the USS Arizona, killing 1,177 of the 1,512 men on board. Only 335 men survived.
 
Mr. Bruner's friend and caretaker Edward Hoschen has heard about Mr. Bruner's escape from the USS Arizona as it burned. He said Mr. Bruner, and about 100 other men, escaped on a rope connecting the Arizona to the repair ship called the Vestal.
 
Hoschen said Mr. Bruner suffered burns on about 70% of his body.
 
Hoschen said Mr. Bruner could not talk about his service at all for many years. He has since opened-up, talking in interviews about his years in the Navy from 1938-1947.
 
Mr. Bruner meets each year with other members of the USS Arizona Reunion Association where he is able to share with people who went through the same experience as him.
 
"They get together and they get to 'BS' each other about how good they used to be and they drink beers and they gamble and they have a good time," said Hoschen.
 
Mr. Bruner was the only survivor who was able to make the reunion this year, but he expects to see the others next year when the reunion is held in Hawaii.
 

Mr. Bruner plans to continue to go each year. "As long as I'm able, I'll be here," he said. 

You can view the USS Arizona memorabilia at the UA Special Collections Library Monday through Friday 9a.m.- 6p.m.