A final Huck’s Hero salute to a true American hero: Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Donald Stratton passed away in his sleep at age 97. The Navy veteran was one of the last survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack on the USS Arizona. 1,177 of his shipmates were killed when Japanese planes bombed the USS Arizona. But he and at least five other sailors survived when another sailor threw them a lifeline from a nearby ship. They struggled hand-over-hand for about 70 feet, with the other sailor calling, “Come on, sailor! You can make it!”
For decades, Stratton never knew the identity of his rescuer. But during a reunion of Pearl Harbor survivors in 2001, he learned it was Chief Petty Officer Joe George, who had died in 1996. Stratton and fellow USS Arizona survivor Lauren Bruner then took on another urgent battle: to get official recognition of George’s heroism. They even traveled to Washington to meet with President Trump. Thanks to their efforts, in 2017, the Navy finally awarded George a posthumous Bronze Star with valor.
There’s more at the link, including photos and video I know you’ll want to see. Rest in peace, George Stratton. A grateful nation thanks you for your duty and sacrifice. And our prayers and condolences to his family and his wife of nearly 70 years, Velma Stratton.