It could easily be a typo. I have seen WWII USMM records which listed an incorrect birthdate. Mistakes happen.
We have a video transcript - DVD - of Mr. Arens' interview. Notes are typed directly from the DVD. I haven't heard the DVD but it would not surprise me that Don misheard or mis-typed. Don has a profound hearing loss from radiation on his throat a number of years ago. Without his hearing aids he's stone deaf, and there are times he still doesn't hear well with the aids. It also wouldn't surprise me if Mr. Arens didn't say the right date.
This journey with War Tales is a huge education for me. Don's been a reporter for over 55 years. He knows how things are and how they should be. He typically has the documents to back up what's been said. Sometimes we miss one. Seems like we missed a lot on this one.
At the time of that interview, Mr. Arens' wife lay dying in their bedroom, complications from Alzheimers. That does not happen quickly.
You can see in that picture of Mr. Arens taken at the time of the interview how gaunt he was.
He was her primary caregiver - someone was coming in to bathe her - it was probably Hospice. Don, at that time, early on, would hand-deliver a copy of the DVD and newspaper article. That interview turned around pretty fast, within a few days. Mrs. Arens died the day Don went back to give Mr. Arens the paper and DVD.
Fast forward to a couple years later, the picture with the medals that all of you took issue with, where he's outside talking with Don.
And guess what. You wouldn't believe it but Mr. Arens remarried within a year or so later. Very happily. They both are. The new Mrs. Arens is his biggest fan.