The Last Living Survivor Of The USS Arizona, Lou Conter, Has Died


HONOLULU, HI - The last survivor of the USS Arizona battleship that exploded and sank during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor has died. 

Lou Conter, at the age of 102, passed away at his home Monday in Grass Valley, California, following congestive heart failure, reports state. 

The USS Arizona lost 1,177 sailors and Marines in the 1941 attack that launched the United States into World War II. The battleship’s dead account for nearly half of those killed in the bombing.

The information states that Conter was a quartermaster standing on the USS Arizona as Japanese planes flew overhead. Sailors were just beginning to hoist colors or raise the flag when the assault began.

The wreckage of the Arizona still lies where it sank. More than 900 sailors and Marines remain entombed inside.

Conter went to flight school after Pearl Harbor, earning his wings to fly PBY patrol bombers, which the Navy used to look for submarines and bomb enemy targets. He flew 200 combat missions in the Pacific with a “Black Cats” squadron, which conducted dive bombing at night in planes painted black.

In the late 1950s, he was made the Navy’s first SERE officer — an acronym for survival, evasion, resistance, and escape. He spent the next decade training Navy pilots and crew on how to survive if they’re shot down in the jungle and captured as a prisoner of war. 

Conter retired in 1967 after 28 years in the Navy.

Conter was born in Ojibwa, Wisconsin, on Sept. 13, 1921. His family later moved to Colorado, where he walked 5 miles one way to school outside Denver. 

His house didn’t have running water, so he tried out for the football team. Not necessarily for the the love of the sport but more because the players could take showers at school after practice.

He enlisted in the Navy after turning 18, receiving $17 a month and a hammock for his bunk at boot camp.

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