THE FIRST MEMOIR BY A USS ARIZONA SURVIVOR: Donald Stratton, one of the battleship's five living heroes, delivers a "powerful" and "intimate"* eyewitness account of Pearl Harbor and his unforgettable return to the fight
At 8:10 a.m. on December 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Donald Stratton was consumed by an inferno. A million pounds of explosives had detonated beneath his battle station aboard the USS Arizona, barely fifteen minutes into Japan’s surprise attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor. Near death and burned across two thirds of his body, Don, a nineteen-year-old Nebraskan who had been steeled by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, summoned the will to haul himself hand over hand across a rope tethered to a neighboring vessel. Forty-five feet below, the harbor’s flaming, oil-slick water boiled with enemy bullets; all around him the world tore itself apart.
In this extraordinary, never-before-told eyewitness account of the Pearl Harbor attack—the only memoir ever written by a survivor of the USS Arizona—ninety-four-year-old veteran Donald Stratton finally shares his unforgettable personal tale of bravery and survival on December 7, 1941, his harrowing recovery, and his inspiring determination to return to the fight.
Don and four other sailors made it safely across the same line that morning, a small miracle on a day that claimed the lives of 1,177 of their Arizona shipmates—approximately half the American fatalaties at Pearl Harbor. Sent to military hospitals for a year, Don refused doctors’ advice to amputate his limbs and battled to relearn how to walk. The U.S. Navy gave him a medical discharge, believing he would never again be fit for service, but Don had unfinished business. In June 1944, he sailed back into the teeth of the Pacific War on a destroyer, destined for combat in the crucial battles of Leyte Gulf, Luzon, and Okinawa, thus earning the distinction of having been present for the opening shots and the final major battle of America’s Second World War.
As the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack approaches, Don, a great-grandfather of five and one of six living survivors of the Arizona, offers an unprecedentedly intimate reflection on the tragedy that drew America into the greatest armed conflict in history. All the Gallant Men is a book for the ages, one of the most remarkable—and remarkably inspiring—memoirs of any kind to appear in recent years.
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About the Author
Born in 1922, Donald Stratton grew up in Red Cloud, Nebraska. Upon graduating high school in 1940, he enlisted in the United States Navy, and reported for duty on the battleship USS Arizona. After more than a year of recuperation following the Pearl Harbor attacks, Stratton reenlisted in the Navy and was commissioned to the destroyer USS Stack. From 1944-45, he served in the Pacific at the naval campaigns for New Guinea, the Philippines, and Okinawa. He has been married to his wife, Velma, for sixty-six years. They live in Colorado Springs.
Ken Gire is the bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Windows of the Soul. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University and Dallas Theological Seminary.
Table of Contents
Prologue The Awakening 1
1 A Child of the Depression 19
2 To Sea on the Arizona 43
3 The Last Night 72
4 December 7th 85
5 The Damage 119
6 Among Angels 143
7 America Responds 157
8 Recovery 166
9 Home to Red Cloud 185
10 Back in the Fight 197
11 Endgame 216
12 The Lessons of Pearl Harbor 234
13 Remembering the Arizona 249
14 Preparing for the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary 266
Epilogue The Reunion 276
Writer's Postscript 289
Corroborating Sources 297
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Such a deep personal story that really brings to light all the emotional scars an event like Pearl Harbor can leave.
THE BOOK ALL THE GALLANT MEN BY DONALD STRATTON/ KEN GIRE. IT WAS SO REAL WHEN YOU READ WHAT THEY WENT THROUGH ON DEC 7,1941. I HAVE READ MANY BOOKS ABOUT PEARL HARBOR BUT THIS BOOK WAS THE MOST INTERESTING BOOK ON THE SUBJECT I HAVE EVER EVER READ. THE DETAIL WAS LIKE YOU WERE RIGHT THERE DURING THE ATTACK AND WHEN THE JAPS WENT OVER AND SO CLOSE YOU COULD SEE THERE HAPPY FACES AND ETC. ... THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCE FOR ALL TO READ. READ THIS BOOK.
Great personal story of someone that was there. Thank you for your service!
History comes alive when told through the eyes of a survivor. An excellent read-a must read for any WWII buff.
This was such a good book! I admit some of the technical language when it came to types of ships, weapons, and ammunition went over my head, but I still really enjoyed this book. The personal elements that only someone who was there can add really bring to life just how horrific it was at the time and how much it affected so many people for the rest of their lives.
This is the best. Reading this at a time that too many people are totally self focused it proviides hope. All the Gallant Men were truly gallant. Thank you and your brothers in arms for your unflinching protection. Ann J. Hulyo
"All The Gallant Men" deserves more than 5 stars. This is a well written and incredible memoir of an incredible period in the history of the United States and the world. Stratton suffered greatly but in all humility he shares Eleanor Roosevelt's Wartime Prayer and asks the question of himself " Dear Lord, Lest I continue My complacent way, Help me to remember that somewhere, Somehow out there A man died for me today. As long as there be war, I then must Ask and answer Am I worth dying for?"
Great book. I couldn't put it down.