Coast Guard Pearl Harbor survivor made honorary Chief Petty Officer

PETALUMA, Calif. - Retired Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class George C. Larson is promoted to an honorary Chief Petty Officer, Nov. 22, 2010. Larson, a Pearl Harbor survivor, served in the Coast Guard from 1939 to 1945 as a radioman. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Metcalf.PETALUMA, Calif. – Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma held a ceremony this morning to honor retired Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class George C. Larsen, promoting him to an honorary Chief Petty Officer for his service during the attack on Pearl Harbor and for his continued contributions to the community.

Chief Petty Officer George C. Larsen, a Pearl Harbor survivor of Novato, Calif., served in the Coast Guard from 1939 to 1945 as a radioman.

Larsen was promoted to honorary Chief Petty Officer in a traditional Coast Guard ceremony. He had anchors, the insignia signifying the rank of Chief Petty Officer, pinned on his shirt collar by two active-duty service members. The collar device, a fouled anchor with a shield superimposed on its shank, represents stability, security, flexibility and strength.

As a radioman, he worked on deciphering top-secret Japanese military code in the months leading up to the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. He also served on a Coast Guard buoy tender, pulling out harbor lights to black out the island in case of further attacks.

At age 93, Larsen continues to speak at various military functions and to community organizations such as the Lions and Rotary Club about his experience during the surprise attack. He also serves as president of the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association San Francisco Bay Area Chapter 2. During his presentations and speeches to various organizations, Larsen always ties his experiences with the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty. Through story telling, he keeps alive the memories of his shipmates, respecting those who paid the ultimate sacrifice every Dec. 7, 1941.

“I was very surprised to receive this honor and see fellow Pearl Harbor survivors in attendance,” said Larsen.

Larsen represents not only himself but also the 2,400 souls lost on that “day of infamy” in 1941. Out of the approximately 2,400 service members killed that day, more than 1,500 were killed in the first 15 minutes on board the USS Oklahoma, USS Utah, and USS Arizona.

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