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  1. On Saturday, February 15, 2020, Donald Stratton, who until that day was one of only three remaining survivors of USS Arizona's (BB-39) sinking at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, died at his home surrounded by wife and son. He was 97 years old. Donald Stratton was a 19 year-old seaman at the time of the attack, and suffered burns and other injuries during the attack such that he was deemed unfit for combat in 1942 (and indeed, he would likely not have even survived had Joe George, a crewman aboard the nearby repair ship USS Vestal (AR-4), defied orders and thrown a rope over to the battleship, saving 6 men from USS Arizona). Despite his injuries, Stratton went on to convince the draft board to let me reenlist, and served all the way through to the end of World War 2, including combat during the Battle of Okinawa. After the war, he spent his life traveling the world and working in the commercial diving business. Mr. Stratton will not be buried with the other crewmen entombed in the wreck of USS Arizona, instead opting to be buried with his family in Nebraska. With his death, only Lou Conter and Ken Potts, both 98 years old, remain as the sole survivors of USS Arizona. May he rest in peace, and may his sacrifice and those of his shipmates never be forgotten. https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/02/17/uss-arizona-burned-around-him-pearl-harbor-fellow-sailor-defied-orders-save-his-life/ https://www.facebook.com/ussarizonasurvivor/posts/902428823547798 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/02/17/uss-arizona-survivors-donald-stratton-dies-colorado-springs-97/4783791002/
  2. December 7, 2019 is the 78th Anniversary of the Attack of Pearl Harbor, which occurred on December 7, 1941 which would be described by Franklin Roosevelt at the time as a "day of infamy". WoWS posted a webpage called Countdown to Pearl Harbor and written by Nicholas Moran aka "The Chieftain", which provides an interesting historical account of events that lead to the devastating surprise attack on the important Hawaiian naval base: https://worldofwarships.com/en/content/game_/countdown-to-pearl-harbor/
  3. Avenge_December_7

    The "Blackie" Affair

    Arizona has allowed me to make this post under the condition that I: Take double the number of shovels to the head for one week Willingly volunteer as target practice for my battleships, including Arizona and Iowa (who is fairly salty after having done >100k average damage over 3 defeats today) Double her doughnut allowance if I mention anything specific she may have...picked up...from the lady in question (which I won't, thank you very much; my silver count is already low enough as it is) Main source here: http://www.strategypage.com/cic/docs/cic133b.asp In the early months of 1924, the USN held Fleet Problems IV in the Caribbean before engaging in further exercises off Culebra and finally dissolving into its component fleets in early April. However, in between these two series of war games, they made several port calls along the East Coast. On the night of March 4, some of USS Arizona's (BB-39) sailors met and conducted business with Madeline Blair, a 19-year old hooker nicknamed "Blackie". During their time together, Ms. Blair revealed that she wanted to go to Hollywood and become a star, but didn't exactly have the money for it. Eventually, she and the sailors conspired to smuggle her aboard Arizona, for a free ride to California. In order to accomplish this, Blackie cut her hair short and the sailors obtained an appropriate uniform and pea coat for her. Amidst a group of seemingly drunk sailors, with her naval clothes on, hat held firmly over her head, and a liberty card in hand, she easily boarded the liberty boat and boarded Arizona. During the trip, the sailors provided a generator compartment for her, and some of the ship's cooks gave her meals for $10 a day, which was rather expensive considering an average sailor's pay back then was only $21 per month. However, Blackie also conducted business of her own, sometimes at $3 per "trick". As they reached warmer climates, she also took nightly strolls on deck and even attended the the nightly movies during port calls. During one of these movie showings, one sailor, apparently unaware of her identity, checked Blackie's breast pocket for some matches to light a cigarette, but obviously instead discovered Ms. Blair's breast. Startled, he fled, but evidently kept his mouth shut and Blackie's secret safe. In addition, at least one other sailor informed the officers of Blackie's presence, but the notion seemed so absurd that it was ignored. Finally, at dawn on April 12, as the fleet was preparing to depart from Balboa, Panama for the west coast later that day, Ms. Blair took a longer-than-usual nightly stroll, and stopped for a drink at a water fountain. A chief radioman waiting for his turn at the fountain looked at her, discovered her gender, and promptly reported it to the officer on the deck. A search was ordered, and Blackie was apprehended. She proved quite feisty under questioning: not only did she not reveal any of her cohorts, but also falsely claimed that there were other women aboard. Her claim caused an even more thorough search that not even Admiral Pratt's quarters was safe from. She was eventually turned over to the local authorities but soon released after Arizona and the fleet departed; evidently, they weren't quite sure as to what to do with her. The entire affair resulted in the following punishments handed down to the crew of Arizona: 23 men convicted by court-martial and sentenced, some for as long as 10 years imprisonment Admiral Henry A. Wiley, Commander of the Battle Fleet’s battleships, issued a letter of reprimand to every officer in the ship Thankfully, Admiral Pratt, who was the division commander, eventually cleared the files for all the officers when he became Chief of Naval Operations in 1930. Unfortunately, because the enlisted men had been convicted via court-martial and thus required a presidential pardon (not likely to come from Herbert Hoover), he couldn't do anything for them. Among the officers whose records were cleared was Ensign Arleigh Burke, whose only negative entry in his records was this affair. The sailor who blew the lid on the affair was rumored to have carried a gun for the rest of his life due to death threats from the other crew members, but unfortunately I couldn't find any more information regarding the entire thing As for Madeleine Blair (apparently Madeline was adopted simply for professional reasons), she eventually returned to New York via a first-class ticket aboard a Grace Liner ship, and sent the bill to the Navy Department, which directed it to Admiral Wiley, Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet (CINCUS). She eventually became a highly respected madam, a champion of woman's rights, and even wrote an autobiography, which you can read here: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/madeleine/madeleine/madeleine.html Here's a newspaper clipping regarding the entire thing: Now, if you'll excuse me— I thought shovel beatings came after target practice? No? ...Well then. CLANG