Divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment donned vintage Mark 5 hardhats — the only two still certified for use — and lead boots that along with the drysuit to inter World War II veteran Lauren Bruner aboard the sunken USS Arizona
Two Army divers gave a unique World War II sendoff to USS Arizona crew member Lauren Bruner when his ashes were interred on the sunken battleship Saturday, the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
The divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment donned vintage Mark 5 hardhats — the only two still certified for use — and lead boots that along with the drysuit weighed about 200 pounds, to walk across the deck of the sunken battleship and descend 22 feet into gun turret 4 to carefully place Bruner's ashes in one of the deepest spots in the wreck.
Dozens, if not hundreds of divers, wore very similar gear in the salvage of damaged ships in Pearl Harbor during the war.
Pearl Harbor survivor Lauren Bruner attends the dual interment of fellow USS Arizona survivors John D. Anderson, boatswain's mate 2nd class, and Clarendon R. Hetrick, seaman 1st class, at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as part of the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 2nd Class Somers Steelman)
Just before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning 78 years ago, Lauren Bruner was preparing for church services and a date that would follow with a girl he'd met outside his Navy base.
The 21-year-old sailor was stationed as a fire controlman aboard the U.S. battleship USS Arizona, overseeing the vessel's .50-caliber guns.
Then alarms rang out. A Japanese plane had bombed the ship in a surprise attack.
It took only nine minutes for the Arizona to sink after the first bomb hit. Bruner was struck by gunfire while trying to flee the inferno that consumed the ship, the second-to-last man to escape the explosion that killed 1,177, including his best friend; 335 survived.
More than 70% of Bruner's body was burned. He was hospitalized for weeks.
Now, nearly eight decades after that fateful day, Bruner's ashes will be delivered to the sea that cradled his fallen comrades, stored in an urn inside the battleship's wreckage.