2015-10-08 / Naval Community

Purple Heart Ceremony

Leonard Harten, former U.S. Navy Soundman and survivor of the attacks that sank the Navajo-class tug USS Nauset (AT-89) during World War II, is congratulated by Command Master Chief Benjamin Pierson, the senior ranking Sonar Technician in the region and assigned to the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, following a ceremony on Oct. 5 awarding Harten the Purple Heart. Harten enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 14, 1942, and reported to the Nauset following completion of Soundman school. On Sept. 9, 1943, while conducting operations in the Gulf of Salerno, a bomb from enemy aircraft exploded in close proximity to the Nauset, setting her ablaze. As a result of the attack, 19-year-old Harten suffered injuries and was forced to abandon ship. Despite recovery efforts from nearby ships, the Nauset hit a mine, broke in two and sank. Harten, who was recovered by a nearby ship, was sent to an Army hospital in Africa for treatment.

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