Lt. Jim Downing, author of the NavPress book The Other Side of Infamy, is 104 years old
Colorado Springs, Colo.—It took nearly a year to be officially certified, but NavPress author Lt. Jim Downing, 104, who penned The Other Side of Infamy(978-1-63146-627-4, SC; 978-1631467448, HC; November 2016), has been recognized as “Oldest Male Author” by Guinness World Records. Downing is widely recognized as the second-oldest survivor of the December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor attack.
The Guinness entry is as follows: The oldest male author is Jim Downing (USA) (b. 22 August 1913), who was 102 years and 176 days when the final draft of his book The Other Side of Infamy was accepted for publication, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, on 15 February 2016.
A lengthy article about Lt. Downing’s record appeared on the Guinness web site and is linked here: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2017/10/monday-motivation-the-pearl-harbor-hero-whos-now-a-record-breaking-author-500025
Jim Downing is the second-oldest living survivor of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His memoir was published by NavPress in 2016.
Having previously teased the forthcoming segment on the plaza at Rockefeller Center in New York in September, Megyn Kelly, host of NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today,” formally introduced the Guinness record during a moving segment about Lt. Downing on October 13.
“I thought I was going to be blown up,” said Downing about Pearl Harbor on Kelly’s new mid-morning show. “My conversation with God was, ‘I’ll be with you in a minute.’ A minute went by for about thirty minutes, and I wasn’t taken; but I experienced the greatest peace I’ve ever had in my life knowing that God was in charge.”
In addition to Kelly’s show earlier this month, Downing has been interviewed about The Other Side of Infamy by CNN’s Jake Tapper. Downing was also featured by TIME magazine in a “virtual reality” segment, Remembering Pearl Harbor, for LIFE VR and Deluxe VR. Downing has thrown out the first pitch at several Major League Baseball games.
Jim Downing was born August 22, 1913 in Oak Grove, Missouri. He joined the Navy at age 19. The first ship to which he was assigned was the USS West Virginia, where he served as gunner’s mate 1st class and postmaster. Jim later met his future wife, Morena, at a college graduation in 1940. During July of 1941, they were married in Hawaii, where Jim was stationed. Just 149 days later, the Downing’s lives were turned upside down by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. During his life, Jim served admirably in the United States Navy, was a devoted husband for 68 years, and was a father to seven children. He lost his beloved wife, Morena, in 2010. In 2013, Jim was entered into the Congressional Record, with a special declaration by Colorado’s U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn. Today, at 104 years of age, Jim Downing is the second oldest known survivor of the December 7, 1941, Japanese sneak attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans.
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