Iowa Pearl Harbor hero honored with Silver Star Medal

The U.S. Navy says it will give a posthumous combat medal to the family of a northeast Iowa sailor on the 76th anniversary of his death on the battleship USS Oklahoma during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Aloysious H. Schmitt, who carried the rank of chaplain lieutenant junior grade, has been awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action. A family member will receive it during a ceremony at Loras College in Dubuque on Thursday.

Schmitt, of St. Lucas, graduated from what is now Loras College.

The Navy says Schmitt helped shipmates escape through a small portal to safety as the Oklahoma was capsizing during the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, giving his own life to save others.

More than 400 sailors on the ship died.