Donald Stratton, 1 of 3 Remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors, Dies at 97
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
February 17, 2020
Donald Stratton, one of 3 remaining survivors of the Pearl Harbor attacks, has died at the age of 97, the National Park Service confirmed on Saturday.
"The National Park Service has learned of the passing of USS Arizona survivor Donald Stratton and has authorized the flag over the USS Arizona Memorial to be flown at half staff in honor of his life and service," the agency said in a statement.
Stratton died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night, surrounded by family, including his wife of 70 years, Verna, and his son, Randy.
Stratton grew up in Nebraska and joined the Navy in 1940. His first ship was the USS Arizona, where he was stationed the morning of the attack on December 7th, 1941. Stratton and five others were in the burned forward mast and was saved when a sailor from another vessel, the USS Vestal, threw them a line. Stratton crawled hand over hand high above the water, and was burned over 70% of his body.
He reenlisted in 1941 and went on to serve in Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa. Stratton served out the war and was discharged in December 1946 with the rank of Gunners Mate Second Class.
Flags at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, will be flown at half staff in honor of his life and service.
Photo: Getty Images