Americans honor the sailor for his bravery in & # 39; 41



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Seventy-six years after saving the lives of the crew of the USS Arizona, an Arkansas man posthumously received a Bronze Star on Thursday for his bravery at Pearl Harbor.

The daughter of Chief Boatswain Chief Joseph George, Joe Ann Taylor of Cabot traveled to Hawaii for the presentation of the awards, which was held on the anniversary of the Japanese attack. George died in 1996.

A device "v" – a letter "V" of a quarter of an inch – was attached to the prize; recognizes the value of George in combat.

Rear Admiral Matthew Carter, deputy commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, delivered the medal during a private ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor at 4:50 p.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Time (8:50 p.m. CST).

[ FLASHBACK: See the Arkansas Gazette home page of December 8, 1941 ]

Last Thursday, in Iowa, a Silver Star posthumously given to the family of Chaplain Lt. jg Aloysius Schmitt. The Roman Catholic priest, who remained aboard the USS Oklahoma as he sank, blessed the sailors as they headed for safety and urged the rescuers to save others first.

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who awarded the medals, said handing out the medals was "not only appropriate but simply the right thing to do".

"One of my highest priorities is to honor the service and sacrifice of our sailors, marines, civilians and family members and it is clear that Lieutenant Schmitt and Chief George are heroes whose service and sacrifice will be a example for current and future members of the service, "he said in a written statement.

George, second mate of a boatswain at that time, served on board the USS Vestal, a repair ship, on the morning of December 7, 1941.

He was reading the Sunday newspaper when the bombing began.

The vestal was moored to Arizona and, like the condemned warship, was hit at the beginning of the RAID bombing; the crew members rushed to cut the lines and put out the flames.

"Despite the extreme danger posed by enemy machine guns, bombs and torpedoes," George "firmly held his exposed position to help control the damage and preparations to start up VESTAL," the quote said.

Minutes after the bombing began, a monstrous explosion shook Arizona. Of the 1,512 men badigned to that ship, 1,177 lost their lives because of the attack.

"Intense fire ravaged ARIZONA and the surrounding waters, making it almost impossible to escape." Several members of the ARIZONA crew critically burned and stranded hailed Chief George, who immediately threw a line at them through the which they crawled one by one to VESTAL, then Chief George helped VESTAL to get rid of the danger represented by ARIZONA. "

Two men, now over 90 years old, crossed the rope and said they owe their lives to George.

On Thursday, the US Navy UU He agreed.

"If it were not for the actions of Chief George, all ARIZONA sailors would probably have perished," the quote said. "For his initiative, courage and devotion to duty, Chief George took great credit for himself and maintained the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

George, who retired from the Navy in 1955 as a noncommissioned officer, eventually moved to Arkansas, his wife's home state.

He died on September 27, 1996, at the age of 80.

Several years before his death, he shared his memories of Pearl Harbor with a researcher at the University of North Texas, reporting that he had thrown the rope of rescue that saved six lives.

"They were surrounded by fire in Arizona," he told the interviewer. "They were stranded on the ship and trying to get off."

It took several shots before George managed to catch the anguished sailors.

Beaten and burned, they secured the rope to their dying ship and then, hand in hand, they broke through.

Hanging 45 feet above a sea covered in flames, they somehow traversed the 75-foot-long rope, escaping before the lines were finally cut. Soon after, Arizona slid underwater.

Taylor has worked for years to draw attention to his father's heroism, arguing that his courage must be recognized.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump agreed.

In July, he met Taylor and two of the men saved by George: Donald Stratton of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Lauren Bruner of Torrance, California.

After thanking the survivors for their service and sacrifice, Trump described George as "a true patriot" whose "courage knew no bounds".

Stratton, the author of All Gallant Men: The first-hand account of an American sailor from Pearl Harbor said that George had received the order to cut the Vestal loose.

But George paused his badigned task long enough to save six lives.

"Joe George had not defended us? He had not been rebellious and refused to cut the line that connected the Vestal with Arizona – we would have been cooked to death on that platform," Stratton wrote. "If someone deserved a Medal of Honor that day, in my opinion, it was him, and I know that at least five others would support that."

George's bravery was admired by his commander, who officially praised him for his actions.

But it took more than three quarters of a century to get a medal.

After meeting with Trump at the White House in July, Taylor said she was glad that her father's bravery was recognized. [19659002] "I am enormously grateful," he said, "for my father's story to be told."

Metro on 08/12/2017

Publication title: USA honors the sailor for his bravery in & # 39; 41

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