George, Joseph Leon, BMC

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Chief Petty Officer
Last Primary NEC
BM-0000-Boatswain's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Boatswain's Mate
Primary Unit
1950-1955, BM-0000, NAVSTA Pearl Harbor, HI
Service Years
1935 - 1955
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Plank Owner
BM-Boatswain's Mate
Five Hash Marks

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

4 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sheila Rae Myers, HM3 to remember George, Joseph Leon, BMC USN(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Franklin, GA
Last Address
Cabot, ARK

Date of Passing
Sep 27, 1996
Location of Interment
Little Rock National Cemetery - Little Rock, Arkansas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
10, 39A

 Official Badges 

US Navy Retired 20

 Unofficial Badges 

US Navy Honorable Discharge

 Military Association Memberships
United States Navy Memorial
  2017, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
NAVSTA Norfolk, VAUS NavyUSS Vestal (AR-4)USS Laws (DD-558)
NAVSTA Joint Base - Charleston, SCUSS Umpqua (ATA-209)USS Willard Keith (DD-775)Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) (Staff)
NAVSTA Pearl Harbor, HI
  1935-1935, AS-0000, NAVSTA Norfolk, VA
  1935-1935, S1c-0000, USS Chaumont (AP-5)
  1935-1942, BM-0000, USS Vestal (AR-4)
  1942-1943, BM-0000, USS Chandeleur (AV-10)
  1943-1943, BM-0000, USS McFarland (DD-237)
  1943-1943, BM-0000, USS YMS-314
  1943-1944, BM-0000, Naval Station Tutuila, American Somoa
  1944-1944, BM-0000, USS Sederstrom (DE-31)
  1944-1945, BM-0000, USS Laws (DD-558)
  1945-1947, BM-0000, NAVSTA Joint Base - Charleston, SC
  1947-1948, BM-0000, USS Umpqua (ATA-209)
  1948-1948, BM-0000, USS Willard Keith (DD-775)
  1948-1950, BM-0000, Headquarters, NAS Memphis (Staff)
  1950-1955, BM-0000, NAVSTA Pearl Harbor, HI
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Attack on Pearl Harbor
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)
  1944-1944 Marshall Islands Operation (1944)/Battle of Kwajalein Atoll (Operation Flintlock)
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Philippine Sea
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Saipan
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Leyte Gulf
  1944-1944 Asiatic-Pacific Specified Raids (1944)/Formosa Air Battle
  1944-1944 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Mindoro
  1944-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Iwo Jima Operation
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Surrender of Japan, End of WWII
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Oct 27, 1939, Tried by summary courts-martial
  Feb 16, 1941, Promoted to BM3
  Nov 01, 1941, Promoted to BM2
  Feb 01, 1943, Promoted to BM1
  May 10, 1943, Deck court1
  Nov 15, 1945, Promoted to BMC
  Jul 21, 2017, Joe Ann Taylor meets President Trump1
  Dec 01, 2017, Navy posthumously awards Bronze Star Medal for valor at Pearl Harbor
  Dec 07, 2017, 76 years later, hero honored for saving Colorado sailor at Pearl Harbor
  Dec 07, 2017, Honoring Joseph George: Taylor goes to Pearl Harbor for her father's "heroic efforts"2
  Dec 13, 2017, General Photos5
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Joseph Leon George was born on October 8, 1915 in Franklin, Georgia to Fannie and Moses Leonidas George. He enlisted in the Navy for four years on July 25, 1935 at Columbus, Georgia and was going to earn $21.00 per month as an Apprentice Seaman.

While in the Navy Joseph became a quite accomplished heavyweight boxer. He boxed for both the US Navy and was a Golden Glove contender. Joseph made a career of the Navy serving in World War II and the Korean War and served on many ships. Although he got into trouble on at least two separate occassions early in his career, he served with distinction throughout his career. Unfortunately, not much is known about Joseph's career because he rarely talked to anyone about his time in the service. Later, in 1978, when he granted an interview about his time in the Navy - and especially focusing on his heroic actions on December 7, 1941 - he ended that question and answer period by saying he hoped he hadn't bragged on himself that much.

While all the men who served during WWII should be considered brave and heroic for putting their lives in the path of danger, Joseph George (then a BM2) should be considered high on the list of the men who went above and beyond in the line of duty on Decemebr 7, 1941. He was the sailor on the USS Vestal (AR-4), when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Disobeying direct orders, he threw a rope to the Port A/A Director and fed a larger rope to the USS Arizona (BB-29) which resulted in saving the life of  six men from that doomed ship. Five of those men survived their injuries and two which were still alive in 2017.

The survivors of the USS Arizona feel he should have received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery and initiative to save the men off the USS Arizona. Joseph was married and had two daughters. Joseph died in 1996 and is buried in Little Rock Arkansas National Cemetery.

Two other interestng facts pertain to BMC George's service. He was at both the attack at Pearl Harbor and the surrender of the Japanese at Okinawa. His war service started when the USS Vestal was at Pearl Harbor and he ended his career at the Naval base there during the Korean War.

Other Comments:

Service number: 2681670

Bronze Star with "V"
CBS aired a report titled "An unknown sailor no more" in 2017 and the story was about BMC Joseph George. In 1941, BM2 George rescued six men from the USS Arizona (BB-29). The men he saved didn't even know the name of the man who saved them until 1978 when the retired Chief Petty Officer granted an interview for a book. From the time Donald Stratton and Lauren Bruner discovered the name, they worked tirelessly to get their rescuer recognized and awarded for the actions he took on December 7, 1941. Along with Joseph's daughter, Joe Ann Taylor, they took various documents to the US Senate, the Pentagon, and finally to the White House. Finally, on the 76th annivesary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, BMC George was preposthummously presented with the Bronze Star with "V" at the annivesary ceremonies at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.

In July of 2017, Joe Ann Taylor, Donald Stratton, and Lauren Bruner met with President Donald Trump at the White House. President Trump stated, "We will always honor and remember a man whose courage knew no limits."

For more on the full story and watch the video, visit the CBS web page - An "unknown sailor" no more.
To read the full interview with BMC George, visit the Digital Library.

The informationcontained in this profile was compiled from various internet sources.
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