Donald Stratton is one merely of five working USS Arizona survivors from the Pearl Harbor attack still living.
“This is where I was, ” says the 95 -year-old Navy veteran pointing to his duel depot on a example of the famed warship at his house in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
We got hit with the large-scale bombard and that exploded like a million pounds of ammunition. The fireball disappeared about sixty, seventy hoofs in the air, said Stratton, describing Japans surprise attack on December 7, 1941.
The explosion could have taken us away, but it didn’t and thank God we cleared it across, he added.
In an interview with Fox News, Stratton told the story of the man who guided him the vital lifeline to aid him and another five USS Arizona sailors make it to security.
Trapped aboard the sinking Arizona, Stratton and the others managed to escape the carnage, which killed 1,177 of his shipmates, with the help of a fellow sailor who shed them a lifeline from his own carry moored next to Arizona.
With shines over 60 percent of his torso, Stratton had to flee his burning warship.
We proceeded to go hand over hand across the line about seventy paws, said Stratton. Today, he doesnt have fingerprints and carries scars across his mas, a daily remember of the horrors he stayed at Pearl harbor.
The toughest constituent was contacting the centre of the sagging strand pulled across the two ships, and climbing up to the other ship.
He hindered saying, “Come on sailor! You can make it, ” echoed Stratton about his savior, who remained a riddle for sixty years.
The man who rescued Stratton and his fellow sailors that day: Joe George.
In his book…”All the Gallant Men, ” Stratton described George as “perhaps the strongest guy in the harbor, an All-Navy Boxer.”
Stratton says George flouted his captain’s tell and flip Stratton the line that would save his life.
Stratton’s granddaughter, Nikki, says she owes her life, in addition to her grandfather’s, to that young sailor’s heroic actions.
We have four generations here because of that guy. We have 14 parties in our clas who wouldnt inevitably is right there without Joe George, said Nikki Stratton.
We just retained questioning, requesting and requesting and finally someone was able to mine through some of the archives and some of the interviews of the sailors about what happened that day and we discovered the mention Joe George, she said.
His family expected the Navy to probe his rescue and dig up interviews from the sailors who were at Pearl harbor.
In 2001, Donald Stratton was accompanying his 60 th reunion of Pearl harbor survivors when he learned the identity of the person who is rescued him. Unhappily, Stratton never had a chance to thank his hero for saving his life. Joe George died in 1996.
More than 75 years later, Stratton requires him finally recognized for his valor.
He saved six people’s living and he didn’t get anything, said Stratton. Someone in Washington should have the bowels and reputation to take care of that.
Georges daughter, Joe Ann Taylor, grew up in the Bay area not knowing about her parents gallants until her husband Gary, a Vietnam veteran, spoke to her father about that day.
George too yielded an oral biography to what is now the University of North Texas recalling the attack on Pearl harbor in the late 70 s.
Its typical of the World War II generation, he merely never “was talkin about a” himself, said Joe Anne from her home in Cabot, Arkansas.
It is a wonderful thing my father did. I am always devastated by the floor. Discovering out what he did and how he did it–he did his duty, and its a disgrace he has never been recognized for it.
Donald Stratton feels so strongly that Joe George should be awarded a medallion that he and another living USS Arizona survivor, 96 -year old-fashioned Lauren Bruner, who was with Donald Stratton that day aboard the Arizona and also made it across that lifeline to safe, are planning to come to Washington with their own families later this month to press lawmakers.
The Stratton family has set up an internet site USS Arizona Final Salute to assistance defray costs of the excursion to Washington and raise money for other USS Arizona survivors to attend a future reunion in Hawaii next December.
Stratton and Bruner plan to meet Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark ., Corey Garner, R-Colo ., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. They likewise have a meeting with the Navys top officer, Adm. John Richardson at the Pentagon and hope to meet the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the defense secretary.
They also hope President Donald Trump will intervene.
Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews