Cabot war hero to be recognized at Pearl Harbor ceremony

An Arkansas veteran disobeyed orders to save lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor, but his heroism went unrecognized for decades.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — One week from today, in Honolulu Hawaii, the 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. The observance always begins at 7:55 a.m. Hawaiian time. That was when the first Japanese plane attacked in 1941.

But this year there'll also be a ceremony in the evening. It's purpose will be to finally honor a sailor who became a hero after disobeying orders.

The Arizona had been hit repeatedly. It was sinking, and as the Japanese continued to bomb Pearl harbor, the smoke cleared long enough for six men stranded on the Arizona's turret you see circled in the picture, to signal to a sailor on a smaller ship.

The man on the smaller ship was Joe George. Against orders, he managed to miraculously throw a line up to the men, a line that would save their lives, one of whom was Don Stratton.

It's why the Stratton family began a 17-year quest to get recognition for the man who had meant there would be a Stratton Family.

That's Jo Ann Taylor, George's daughter, who joined the Stratton's effort three years ago, because as we first reported she had never known the full story. 

After letters to Congressmen, attending Navy Pearl Harbor Reunions, a meeting with the Secretary of Defense, even meeting with the President of the United States, just before Thanksgiving Jo Ann got a call.


The medal will be presented to Jo Ann in Honolulu on Dec. 7  in the evening, in a ceremony separate from the big observance of the morning

The two living survivors Joe saved that day, though well into their 90s, intend to be there, too.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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