USS Arizona survivors - BMC Joe George Bronze Star with Combat V ceremony

Lakewood, OH

The cliff notes version of the trip last week is that 2 of the 5 living USS Arizona survivors were saved by a sailor from the USS Vestal during the attack. After the Arizona exploded and with burns on 70-80% of their bodies, they climbed hand over hand off the ship down 70 feet to the USS Vestal.

For 60 years, they didn’t know the name of the sailor who threw the line. By the time they found out that his name was Joe George, he had passed away. Since 2002, they have been trying to secure a medal for him and asked for my help last year.

The combined efforts resulted in Joe George being awarded a Bronze Star with Combat V. The awards ceremony (the first and only on the memorial) took place on 7DEC17 onboard the USS Arizona Memorial with 3 of the 5 survivors present.

Here’s the LA Times article (there are dozens across the globe).

Here’s the replay of the live stream

It’s difficult to even relay the impact of the experience.

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