Just after on January 21, 1945, a single-engine Japanese aircraft scored a hit on USS Langley with a glide-bombing attack. Seconds later, a kamikaze swooped out of the clouds and plunged toward USS Ticonderoga (CV-14). The aircraft crashed through the ship's flight deck abreast of the No. 2 5 in mount, and its bomb exploded just above her hangar deck. Several aircraft stowed nearby erupted into flames and men were killed. While the crew were ordered into action to save the endangered carrier, Captain Kiefer conned his ship skillfully. First, he changed course to keep the wind from fanning the blaze. Then, he ordered magazines and other compartments flooded to prevent further explosions and to correct a 10 degree starboard list. Finally, he instructed the damage control party to continue flooding compartments on Ticonderoga's port side which induced a 10 degree port list which dumped the fire overboard. Firefighters and aircraft handlers completed the dangerous job of dousing the flames and jettisoning burning aircraft. Other kamikaze then assailed the carrier. Her antiaircraft gunners shot down three which all crashed into the sea, but a fourth aircraft struck the carrier's starboard side near the island. Its bomb set more aircraft on fire, riddled her flight deck, and injured or killed another 100 sailors.
PhM3 Arnett died of smoke inhalation during his many rescue attempts after the attack. He was buried at sea by his shipmates.
Navy Cross citation
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Division: U.S.S. Ticonderoga (CV-14)
General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet: Serial 03627 (May 4, 1945)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Pharmacist's Mate Third Class George Junior Arnett (NSN: 8559341), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and conspicuous devotion to duty in operations against the enemy while serving as a Pharmacist's Mate on board the U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. TICONDEROGA (CV-14), during enemy air attacks on 21 January 1945. Pharmacist's Mate Third Class Arnett made many trips into smoke-filled compartments to rescue men who had been overcome with smoke. This was done with complete disregard for his own personal safety and without benefit of a rescue breathing apparatus. Each man brought by him was revived. On the last trip he himself was overcome and could never be revived. His actions were at all times inspiring and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service, in that he gave his own life in saving the lives of several of his shipmates.