Identify the Unknown Sailors from the USS Arizona

USS Arizona (BB-39) survivors Donald Stratton and Ken Potts both signed The Log Book in 2017. Their signatures provides a direct link to 7 December 1941 and the attacks on Pearl Harbor where 2335 US service men and 68 civilians perished.

As a Japanese bomb hits the USS Arizona in the vicinity of Turret II it ignites the forward magazines in a cataclysmic explosion. The USS Arizona (BB-39) alone accounts for 1177 dead this day, the majority of their remains are never recovered and remain entombed in the wreckage.

USS Arizona (BB-39) survivors.

There are however 85 USS Arizona crew members buried as “unknowns” at Punchbowl cemetery in Honolulu. It has now been proposed by the DPAA charged with investigating, recovering and identifying American service members missing from past wars, to disinter these crew members re-interring them, unidentified, back on the sunken ship in Pearl Harbor.

Nikki Stratton, the granddaughter of survivor Donald Stratton, has started a petition on behalf of the Families and Surviving Members of the USS Arizona asking the DPAA to reconsider this position.

In life and in death, we all deserve dignity. Those who sacrifice their lives for others deserve it even more so. Please consider supporting this initiative by signing the above petition.

These are my shipmates, my brothers, my family. Let their families decide where they go. Identify MY shipmates and lay them to rest with identity, dignity, and honor. The DPAA should be ashamed of themselves, what the hell are they thinking.

Ken Potts, USS Arizona (BB-39) survivor.

Family comes first, and I agree with Ken, let their kin decide where their loved ones go. No one, not even the government has a right to bury them without first identifying them. Once we know who they are, seek out the wishes of their family.

Lou Conter, USS Arizona (BB-39) survivor.
USS Arizona (BB-39) burning.
USS Arizona (BB-39)

About Lars McKie 73 Articles
An ordinary Swede with a passion for history and just grateful to be given the chance to participate and contribute to the project.


  1. Hi,
    I will be brief. I recently was told my Dad, deceased, was on the Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack. I knew he had been burned during a bomb attack, his legs were badly scarred. The story I always heard was a fellow sailor relived him of duty ten minutes early, which saved my Dad’s life. What my parents failed to mention is the ship this happened on and the day/location. Is there anyway I can verify what I’ve been told? Thank you. This is a truly wonderful site you all have built here.

    • Hello Kathleen,
      Firstly; thank you for the kind words on the website – much appreciated.

      Secondly; there were 334 survivors of USS Arizona – if your father was listed as a crew member on this ship I am sure there would be ways of confirming this.

      Your fathers service history should be obtainable through records, although we are not professional researchers I’d be happy to give it a try if I knew your fathers name and service number.

      Feel free to provide further information through the contact page:

      Best regards

    • Hi Kathleen,
      forgive me for being so late to this post! Did you ever get any further with research into your dad’s service history? It seems strange that your father would be on duty on a different ship if he was an Arizona crewmember – but perhaps its quite possible if he was part of a small skill set (I am no expert and completely guessing here) At any rate, I can connect you with the granddaughter of the late Donald Stratton – Nikki Stratton, who I imagine would be happy to assist with determining if your dad was an Arizona crewmember. Thanks for reaching out! Nick

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