Pearl Harbor survivor who suffered burns to over 70% of his body dies aged 97

Donald Stratton, one of the last USS Arizona survivors from the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, passed away on Saturday, aged 97.

The Pearl Harbor National Memorial confirmed in a statement on Sunday that he had died peacefully in his sleep.

“We are profoundly sad to say that last night, February 15, USS Arizona Survivor Donald Stratton passed away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his wife of nearly 70 years, Velma, and his son Randy,” it read.

Reports state that Stratton joined the US Navy back in 1940 and was stationed aboard the USS Arizona. He was present on the ship when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, suffering burns to over 70% of his body but surviving the battle.

“During the attack on December 7th 1941, he was with 5 others in the burning forward mast and was saved when a sailor from the USS Vestal threw them a line,” the memorial explained. “He crawled hand over hand, high above the water to safety, being burned over 70% of his body.”

Stratton was medically discharged after Pearl Harbor but still endeavored to serve his country.

The National Memorial said: “Stratton reenlisted and completed boot camp in January 1944. He served out the war and was discharged in December 1946 at the rank of Gunners Mate Second Class (GM2c).”

The Nebraska native wrote a book in 2016 titled All the Gallant Men. As per Fox News, in it he described the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“I was aboard the USS Arizona on the morning of December 7, 1941. The courage I saw in our men was astonishing,” he said.

He continued: “We were not extraordinary men, those of us who fought on that infamous date in December seventy-five years ago… We were ordinary men. What was extraordinary was the country we loved. We loved who she was, what she stood for. We loved her for what she meant to us, and for what she had given to us, even in those meager times.”

Rest in peace, Donald Stratton, and thank you for your incredible service to this country.

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