The ship was burning and Donald Stratton and Lauren Bruner thought they were going to die.

Bruner already had been wounded aboard the USS Arizona, taking bullets to a leg. He was bleeding badly. Stratton was burned on his back, face and leg. Part of his ear was missing. Japanese Zeros buzzed above Pearl Harbor.

Through the smoke and haze, Stratton saw Joe George standing on the deck of the USS Vestal — a repair ship moored next to the Arizona. George had been ordered to cut the lines between the two ships as the battleship was sinking. But Stratton and Bruner were yelling at him to throw them a rope. A lifeline. An officer ordered George to let the men be.

He threw the rope anyway.


Read the whole story from The Los Angeles Times.

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