Pearl Harbor Survivor Committed to the Sea


Story Number: NNS071011-20Release Date: 10/11/2007 4:54:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul D. Honnick, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- A Sailor who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor was committed to the sea Oct. 4 during a ceremony held at the USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island in Naval Station (NAVSTA) Pearl Harbor.

In accordance with his wishes, the family of Chief Shipfitter Gordon E. Cook honored his memory by scattering his ashes into the harbor next to the sunken ship where 54 crew members lost their lives Dec. 7, 1941.

"Thanks to Gordon's loving wife of 45 years, his daughters and other family members, we will now honor him as he so richly deserves," said retired Master Chief Yeoman Jim Taylor, burial at sea coordinator for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

In attendance were Cook's wife Carole, daughter Lauri Bookter, daughter Kathy and her husband Cmdr. Lance Fewel, Naval Reserve Officer Corps; grandson Connor Fewel and granddaughter Ashtyn Fewel.

"He was a wonderful, caring husband. He was very sweet, everybody that knew him really liked him and he'll be very missed for a long time," said Carole Cook.

"I'm awe-struck with how wonderful the ceremony was and having the opportunity to come out here and honor his service and sacrifice makes me very proud," said Cmdr. Fewel.

As his ashes drifted by USS Utah, the NAVSTA Pearl Harbor Ceremonial Guard rendered a 21-gun salute followed by the playing of Taps by the Pacific Fleet Band.

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Illianna Thomas, a volunteer honor guard member, presented Cook's wife with his flag.
Cook was serving aboard destroyer tender USS Whitney (AD-4) when Japanese planes when explosions were heard at approximately 8:00 a.m., Dec. 7, 1941.

He watched from the fantail of the ship as the day's horrific events unfolded from the bombing of Ford Island and Battleship Row, including the massive explosion caused by a single bomb that penetrated the deck of USS Arizona and ignited the ship's forward ammunition hold.

Cook participated in the salvage operations that followed and later in his career he participated in the battle of Guadalcanal.

Cook enlisted in the Navy February 1940 and was honorably discharged June 1946. He passed away July 3.

For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.

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