Back in December 2016, on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Habor (on 7 December 1941), some of the remaining survivors of the attack and survivors from the battle ship, Arizona, that was sunk on that day, made the trip to Hawaii again.
On 9 December 2016, Hawaii Five-0 Episode 7:16 was being filmed at a hotel, and they were given a ringside seat to the action. Alex and Scott had the honour of having a chance to meet them and take pictures with them.
At the time of the meeting, Donald Stratton was 94 years and his wife Velma was 90 years. Ray Chavez was 104 years and Ken Potts was 95 Years old, and his wife Doris was also there.
- From Donald Stratton’s Facebook page
Donald meeting actor Alex O’Loughlin on the set of Hawaii 5-0.Alex stopped what he was doing, and came over to meet Donald.The two had an incredible conversation.Alex’s character [Steve McGarrett] on Hawaii 5-0 had a grandfather who was aboard the Arizona who perished.
There is a lot of background noise and others with non-relating conversations that can be heard, but we tried to catch just the main part of the interaction with Alex and the veterans.
Alex: (answering somebody that we could not hear)
Some people aren’t. Trust me.
Randy: That is my dad, Don Stratton.
Alex: Yeah, we met. I met Don just now.
(to Donald) Good to see you, sir. Good to see you.
Comment from the photographer Paolo:
[We’re on the set of Hawaii five-0. They are at a hotel, shooting.]
Alex: [Posing for pictures] Let’s do another shake.
Thank you. It’s an honour. Gentlemen, it’s an honour to meet you guys. Thank you very much for taking pictures with me.
Donald: [It sounds like he said] Well, you do it fairly good as well.
Alex: Well, I haven’t really done much. I just show up and shook some hands. It’s a pleasure.
[Posing for another picture]
(to Ken) I’m going to give you a left hand. Is that okay?
Ken: I’m left-handed.
[Laughs all around]
Alex: Did we get them?
Alex: Good work gents. Good work.
Randy: Thank you.
Alex: Yes, it’s a pleasure. I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your day.
Alex: You can all stick around as long as you want.
Randy: Appreciate it. I have to get them back up. We have a 9 o’çlock flight tonight. So …
Alex: Oh, you can all get a nap in and stuff before the flight. Yeah, yeah. Good on you mate, alright. Take it easy.
[Again shaking hands with the vets]
Nice to meet you gentleman. It was a real honour.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks for coming by and for saying hello.
Donald: Don’t do anything you can do standing up in a hammock …..
Randy: His book. “All the Gallant Me”, number one best seller right now.
Alex: I got to hear this (and he leans in to hear Donald better)
Donald: [Saying something to Alex something that sounds like.] Don’t do anything you can’t do standing up in a hammock, and you’ll be fine.
Alex: That’s right
What I always say is, why stand up when you can sit? And why sit down when you can lay down?
[Shaking hands with Ray] Good to meet you. Good to meet you.
[Shaking hands Velma & then Doris] Nice to meet you.
Link to our video edit
- From Donald’s granddaughter Nikki Stratton
Grandpa meeting Alex O’Loughlin on the set of Hawaii 5-0! So awesome.
No big deal. Just the cast of Hawaii 5-0 stopping for a picture with my grandpa USS Arizona survivor Donald Stratton. #h50
- From Paolo Cascio
- From Nikki on Twitter
But who were these veterans that Alex met that day?
- Ray Chavez (in the red cap) – 10 March 1912 to 21 November 2018 (He shared a birthday with Steve McGarrett 😉 )
He was the oldest veteran survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ray died peacefully in his sleep in San Diego County on 21 November 2018. He was 106 at the time of his passing.
- Donald Stratton (in the middle) – 14 July 1922 to 15 February 2020
He was 97 at the time of his passing. Donald’s wife Velma passed away on 30 April 2020, 2 weeks after her 94th birthday (15 April) and a week after what would have been her and Don’s 70 wedding anniversary on 23 April.
His book written by Ken Gire is called “All the Gallant Men: The First Memoirs by a USS Arizona Survivor” and is a New York Times and Amazon best seller and set to be made into a movie soon.
- Ken Potts (with the left hand 😀 ): 17 April 1921
He turned 101 this year and is at present one of the last two survivors of the sunken ship, Arizona.
In Dec 2017 they again visited Hawaii for the 76th anniversary of Pearl Habor, and it looks like that time around Alex got a copy of the book from Donald’s son Randy:
Sharing All the Gallant Men with Alex O’Loughlin from Hawaii 5-0!
It was interesting to see how these men, who were all in their 90s and 100s already, kept a good sense of humour over the years.
They survived so much, but they also lived long lives!