PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - Don Stratton was just a teenager when it happened. Over 70 years later, the memory and physical scars of the attack on Pearl Harbor are all too fresh.
Don was a 19-year old port-side gun director about the USS Arizona. On December 7th, 1941, he was eating breakfast aboard the ship when he heard fellow sailors yelling.
He ran to his post, amidst the ambush.
Then a Japanese bomb hit the forward ammunition magazine. Approximately a million pounds of munitions exploded.
Somehow Don survived.
Burned over 70 percent of his body, Don and five others managed to traverse a rope between the Arizona and USS Vestal.
On Memorial Day 2014, he returned to the site of his escape.
"It's very sad, it's a very sacred place. I lost so many shipmates that day. It's like going back and losing them all over again" he said.
Don led a wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, and took part in a press conference to unveil new technologies being used to three-dimensionally map the ship.
"We used a number of different technologies to take a very close look at the Arizona for the first time in 30 years. These included laser based, sonar based, and photo based technologies" said Pete Kelsey of Autodesk Inc, the firm that performed the scans.
The goal is to create a free, 3-D, online model that people can explore for themselves. Daniel Martinez, a National Parks Historian, wondered about the possibilities.
"We could move forward with a virtual museum. We could take the artifacts that we have in the museum and intertwine that with what we have for the ship".
Stratton was amazed by the presentation, and how the imaging brought the ship to life.
"It doesn't bring the sailors back, but it brings back a lot of memories" he said.