LIFELINE: PEARL HARBOR’S UNKNOWN HERO
Airs Sunday, December 9th at 5:30PM and Tuesday, December 11th at 8PM
Narrated by actor Gary Sinise, Lifeline: Pearl Harbor’s Unknown Hero tells the story of how U.S. Navy sailor Joe George became an unlikely hero when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and how he was recognized with a Bronze Medal for his actions more than 70 years later. A USS Vestal crewman, Joe was not your model navy sailor. He fought both inside and outside the boxing ring, liked his beer a little too much at times, and had a stubborn and defiant streak that often left him at odds with his superior officers and, once in a while, got him thrown in the brig. But on that “Day of Infamy,” Joe did something extraordinary. He became one of America’s first heroes of WWII. Ignoring a direct order to cut the lines from the USS Vestal, which was moored alongside the burning and sinking USS Arizona, the sailor made a crucial decision that saved six lives and impacted future generations. Joe could see that the crewmen were injured badly, trapped, waving, and pleading for help as fire raged on the Arizona’s deck beneath them. He found a weighted heaving line and threw it toward the men, who secured the line. One by one, they began to crawl over to the USS Vestal, hand over hand, and more than 50 feet above the water, feeling the heat from the flames on their skin. More than a thousand Arizona crewmen died during the attack, with only 335 sailors surviving that day. Joe was never recognized for his actions that day, until the men he saved from the USS Arizona (Lauren Bruner and Donald Stratton) took it upon themselves to see he received the award he deserved. With the support of Stratton’s son Randy and George’s daughter Joe Ann Taylor, the men of the USS Arizona took their mission all the way to the Oval Office, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. They were determined to complete one final mission as USS Arizona crewmen.
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