02 Apr 2024, 09:13

Last survivor of Pearl Harbor battleship sinking dies

LOS ANGELES, April 2, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - The last survivor of the USS
Arizona, the battleship that was sunk in the Japanese bombing of Pearl
Harbor, has died aged 102, the charity honoring victims of the attack said

Lou Conter was a 20-year-old quartermaster who helped rescue fellow sailors
on December 7, 1941, after the United States' Pacific fleet came under
surprise attack.

The assault, which catapulted the United States into World War II, damaged or
destroyed most of the fleet stationed at the Hawaii naval base and resulted
in the deaths of more than 2,000 Americans.

Over 1,100 people aboard the USS Arizona died; many of them are still
entombed on the sunken ship.

"This is a heartbreaking loss," said Aileen Utterdyke, president and CEO of
Pacific Historic Parks, a non-profit that honors those who died in the

"Lou Conter epitomized what it meant to be a member of the Greatest
Generation, Americans whose collective courage, accomplishments and
sacrifices saved our country from tyranny.

"He had an exemplary career in the Navy and was steadfast in imploring the
schools, parents and everyday Americans to always remember Pearl Harbor."

Conter went on to be a pilot later in World War II, and was shot down twice,
including off the coast of New Guinea where he and his crew landed in shark-
infested waters.

As an intelligence officer, he flew combat missions in Korea and created the
Navy's first SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and escape) program.

He was a military adviser to Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy
and Lyndon Johnson.

Pacific Historic Parks said on its Facebook page that Conter died on Monday
at his home in Grass Valley, California, surrounded by family.

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