Tags: Pearl Harbor | USS Arizona | veteran | surviving | Joseph Langdell | dies

Last Surviving USS Arizona Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Langdell, Passes

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015 06:56 PM

The oldest living member of the USS Arizona crew and its last surviving officer has died in a California nursing home at age 100.

Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Langdell died Feb. 4, according to his son, Ted Langdell.

A tally maintained by the USS Arizona Reunion Association, for which Langdell had served as president, identified him as both the oldest Arizona survivor, and its last surviving officer from the ship that lost 1,177 men — nearly four-fifths of its crew — when it was bombed Dec. 7, 1941, Military.com reports.

"I felt absolutely helpless as I watched the attack," Langdell told the Associated Press on the 56th anniversary of the attack that drew the United States into World War II.

"If I had been aboard, I would have been killed in that No. 2 [gun] turret. That was the one that blew up. It was my luck to be assigned off the ship that day."

The New Hampshire native spent another four years in the Navy before going to work as an auctioneer, a furniture manufacturer’s representative and eventually the long-time owner of a Yuba City, Calif., furniture store, Military.com reports.

Ted Langdell said his father did not talk about Pearl Harbor during his childhood and returned there for the first time since the war in 1976, when his older son was in the Navy.

"He was 100 years, three months and 24 days old," Ted Langdell wrote in a Facebook tribute. "A long-time listener to classical music, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, the 'Eroica' played him off this life's stage."

"During his 100 years, Joe Langdell had seen many things and changes," his wrote.

"His skills ranged from the use of wood stoves and outhouses in cold, New Hampshire winters, milking cows in his father's barn, guiding horse-drawn buggies and driving early motor cars, building crystal radio sets and cranking party-line, operator-connected telephones, to using cell phones, e-mailing and surfing the Internet."

Langdell’s ashes will be put aboard the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, mostly likely on Dec. 7, Military.com reports.

The reunion association says there are now eight remaining survivors.


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The oldest living member of the USS Arizona crew and its last surviving officer has died in a California nursing home at age 100. Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Langdell died Feb. 4, according to his son, Ted Langdell. A tally maintained by the USS Arizona Reunion...
Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona, veteran, surviving, Joseph Langdell, dies
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Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015 06:56 PM
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