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In Memory of Donald Stratton, Survivor of USS Arizona

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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.






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USS Arizona survivor, Donald Stratton, stands in front of the remembrance wall at the USS Arizona Memorial in 2014. Stratton died February 15 at age 97.


He was a Seaman First Class when he was one of 334 crew members to survive the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, according to the USS Arizona tweet. The attack drew the country into World War II.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Stratton was with five other sailors in the burning forward mast when he was saved by a sailor from the USS Vestal who threw the group a line, according to the statement.

Stratton suffered burns to over 70% of his body while escaping and received a medical discharge in September 1942.
Ever determined to serve his country, the statement said, Stratton reenlisted in 1944, served out the war and was discharged, once again, in December of 1946 at the rank of Gunners Mate Second Class.
The flag over the USS Arizona Memorial will be flown at half staff in honor of his life and service, the statement said.



PS:  A special thanks to - CNN's Keith Allen who contributed to this report.

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The Colorado Springs airport has a display honoring Don Stratton, with his medals, a very nice Arizona model and a beam from the wreck.






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