Take Charge

Two-Time Cancer Survivor and Pearl Harbor Survivor Reflects on 75th Anniversary

December 06, 2016

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It’s been 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor, but George Kondas remembers it like it was yesterday. Kondas was just 20-years-old when the alarms sounded at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He saw the planes flying overhead and thought they were dropping sacks of flour for a training mission, but quickly realized it wasn’t a drill. Kondas remembers more than 350 planes coming in from every direction, ships burning, the sinking of the Arizona, the Oklahoma turning over and the sheer chaos of the day.

Kondas built mines for the Navy during WWII and was on the island of Okinawa when the war ended. He’s been married for more than 70 years, has four children and became a firefighter. But, his time at war wasn’t over as Kondas found himself fighting a different enemy — cancer.

Doctors removed one of his lungs because they weren’t sure how far the cancer had spread. After winning the battle against lung cancer, doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center diagnosed him with prostate cancer. Once again he fought with bravery and beat the disease.

Today, Kondas is 95-years-old. Not only is he one of the last remaining Pearl Harbor survivors, but he is a two-time cancer survivor. He is a hero, an inspiration and a reminder to never give up hope as America remembers the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.