Colorado Springs resident Don Stratton, one of the few remaining survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, saw the model ship for the first time.
“This is the first time I saw it,” Stratton said. “It was beautiful and everything was detailed. It was the nicest model I have ever seen.”
The model ship was flown over from England. It took creator Jozef Szydlowski, of Crewe, England, six years to build it.
“I am 95 happy with this model,” Szydlowski said. “There are a few broken parts but I can’t fix them today or fix them now.”
The ship will stay on display at the National Museum of World War II Aviation.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation issued the following statement about the event:
An impossibility you may say, but Saturday (Feb. 2) the National Museum of World War II Aviation will receive a painstakingly accurate 1/72nd scale model of America’s most revered WWII battleship, the USS Arizona.
Even at that scale, the model is eight feet long, and features in fine detail the massive gun turrets, the onboard “Kingfisher” seaplanes, and much smaller details like anti-mine paravanes that were towed alongside the ship to catch and cut cables holding explosive floating mines. The Arizona crew is onboard, going through their daily ship-board routine.
One of a handful of survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on the Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Colorado Springs resident Don Stratton, will be on hand to get a first look at the model as it becomes part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Jozef Szydlowski crafted the Arizona model over six years where he resides in Crewe, England. It was his decision to donate the scale model to the museum where it can be displayed next to the exhibit dedicated to Don Stratton and the USS Arizona.
View the model here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIt8r86wso0
Stratton was burned over 65 percent of his body. He underwent recovery and rehab for more than a year and returned to Nebraska after being medically discharged, but re-enlisted and served as a ship’s gunner in the South Pacific until the end of WWII.
“A million pounds of ammunition exploded, and the fireball engulfed us,” Stratton said. “I went to get a gun and I discovered I didn’t have any fingerprints. So you can imagine how badly my hands were burnt.”