Lou Conter, final survivor of Battleship Arizona, dies at 102


Lou Conter, the final identified survivor of the battleship Arizona, which sank with the dying of 1,177 sailors and Marines in Japan's secret assault on Pearl Harbor that plunged the US into World Struggle II, was buried Monday in Grass Valley, He died at his house in California. .He was 102 years outdated.

His daughter, Luann Daly, confirmed the dying to The Related Press.

Mr. Conter, who held the rank of quartermaster, a publish aiding navigation of the Arizona, was on his shift shortly after 8 a.m. on Sunday, December 7, 1941, when a Japanese armor-piercing bomb hit 5 metal decks. Entered and exploded. When the ship was moored in port in Honolulu, Hawaii, greater than 1,000,000 kilos of gunpowder and 1000’s of rounds of ammunition had been saved in its hull.

He wrote a memoir, “The Lou Conter Story: From USS Arizona Survivor to Unsung American Hero” (2021), written by Annette C. Hull and Warren R. Hull's affiliation wrote, “The ship was destroyed in an enormous fireball.”

Mr. Conter, who fell ahead however was not injured, attended to the survivors, lots of whom had been blinded and badly burned. When the order to desert ship got here, he was knee-deep in water. A lifeboat took him to shore and within the days that adopted he helped get better our bodies and extinguish fires. Solely 93 of these on board had been alive on the time; 242 different crew members had been on shore.

Mr. Conter later attended Navy flight college and flew 200 fight missions within the Pacific, a few of them involving nighttime dive bombing of Japanese targets. Throughout one three-night interval, her crew rescued 219 Australian coast watchers off New Guinea who had been at risk from being approached by the Japanese. For that feat he acquired the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Holding the rank of lieutenant, Mr. Conter flew 29 fight missions through the Korean Struggle and served as an intelligence officer for a Navy plane provider group. Within the late Fifties, he helped set up the Navy's first SERE program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) to show Naval airmen the right way to survive in the event that they had been shot down within the jungle and captured. Could be skilled about.

He retired from the Navy as a lieutenant commander in 1967 and was later an actual property dealer and developer within the Los Angeles space.

Louis Anthony Conter was born on September 13, 1921, within the northern Wisconsin city of Ojibwa, the son of Nicholas and Lottie Conter. His father was concerned in building work which finally moved the household to Wheatridge, Colo., outdoors Denver. After graduating from highschool, Lu joined the Navy in 1939 and reported to Arizona in January 1940.

His spouse, Valerie, died in 2016. Full details about their survivors was not instantly out there.

His dying got here nearly a yr after the dying of Ken Potts, the second-to-last survivor of the assault, additionally aged 102.

Mr. Conter's house in Grass Valley, close to the Tahoe Nationwide Forest in Northern California, was full of Arizona memorabilia, together with a chunk of particles. He as soon as mentioned that “Each morning I stand up, pay tribute to all of the Individuals who died at Pearl Harbor on Sunday, together with my 1,177 shipmates in Arizona, and stroll away.”

He rejected any notion that the dwindling variety of survivors in Arizona needs to be honored as heroes. “The two,403 individuals who died are heroes,” he mentioned in a 2022 interview with The Related Press, referring to all of the Individuals who died within the Pearl Harbor assault. “I’m not a hero. I used to be simply doing my job.”

Till 2020, when the infirmities of age restricted him, Mr. Conter participated in annual memorial providers held at Pearl Harbor by the Navy and the Nationwide Park Service.

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, maintained by the Park Service, marks the resting place of the 1,102 crew members killed within the assault, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt described as “a date that will likely be remembered in infamy ” had mentioned, when he requested the Congress. To declare conflict with Japan. This memorial, inbuilt 1962 and visited by roughly two million individuals every year, spans the sunken hull of the Arizona with out touching it.

It reads: “In reminiscence of the gallant males buried right here and their comrades who gave their lives in motion aboard the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941.” The sunken stays of the battleship are a Nationwide Historic Landmark.

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