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Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Pearl Harbor movie row
Pearl Harbour
Devastated: Pearl Harbour under seige
US war veterans have slammed plans to portray a famous American aircraft carrier as a Japanese warship in a new film about Pearl Harbor.

The group of campaigners, based in Texas, say it would be an insult to the memory of the servicemen who lost their lives in the World War II battle.

Producers of Pearl Harbor, the film, are keen to convert the USS Lexington - now a floating museum - into the Japanese carrier which launched dozens of bombers on the raid.


Ben Affleck
Star man: Ben Affleck has lead role in Pearl Harbour

The Walt Disney Company is recreating the attack on the harbour in a $136m (84m) blockbuster starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsdale and Cuba Gooding.

But Harry Ogg, of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, is not impressed.

The 77-year-old, based in Corpus Christi - where the Lexington is anchored - said: "I think it's a disservice to the many men who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, Corregidor and other battles."

Animosity

Ogg, who was stationed on the oiler Neosho during the attack on 7 December 1941, added: "You can't have a Japanese war flag flying on a US warship."

Garlen Eslick, also 77, who was serving aboard the USS Oklahoma at the time, agrees.


USS West Virginia
USS West Virginia ablaze in Pearl Harbour

He said: "I would not oppose it being used as a Japanese carrier if all else failed, but I wouldn't like to see them do it.

"I still carry a lot of animosity."

Museum spokeswoman Sandi McNorton played down the controversy, saying the Lexington had already portrayed a Japanese vessel in the 1976 film Midway and would be used sparingly.

"The controversy is overstated," she said.

"We believe it is an excellent movie and it makes sense for us to be a part of it."

Ogg disagreed, insisting: "It's a money thing. They forget how many people have lost their lives. Too many people died at Pearl Harbour."

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