Louis Conter, last survivor of the USS Arizona, dies at 102

 April 3, 2024

This week marked a sad milestone in the Pearl Harbor survivor community.

According to the BBC, the last surviving crewmember of the USS Arizona battleship, Louis Conter, passed away at the age of 102.

Conter reportedly passed away at his home in California earlier this week after suffering from heart failure, according to his daughter.

He was interviewed numerous times over the years and recounted his story, which was as jaw-dropping and hard to fathom as stories from other USS Arizona crewmembers.

Keeping the memory alive

Conter was known for making sure the nation never forgot the tragic and historic date of Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan launched a surprise deadly attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

In his numerous interviews, which he gave up until he turned 100 years old, Conter would deliver a play-by-play of how that day unfolded, and the harrowing experience that re-shaped the course of the nation and the world.

"It was five minutes to 8, and the first plane came across," Conter said in one of the interviews.

"As soon as they came in, we knew what was happening. We knew for six months we were training hard for fighting the Japanese at war," he said. "They were dive bombing, and they were right down the ship’s edge. We didn’t have time to look up and see what was coming. They were already right down at the water’s edge."

He added, "It lasted for about 40 minutes. We took a 50-60-hundred-pound bomb alongside the number two turret. It went through five decks in the forward lower handling room and blew the power up there for the number one and number two turret, and the whole bow came up out of the water."

Tributes pour in

Conter, a true, die-hard American hero, was honored across social media for his service and his willingness to make sure future generations never forgot what happened on that fateful day.

"LCDR Louis Anthony Conter, USN (Ret.), the last living survivor of the sinking of the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, has passed at 102. Fair Winds and Following Seas, Sir," WWII Memorial Friends wrote on X.

Another X user wrote, "RIP sailor. God bless you, and your shipmates sacrifice for our nation."

Clearly, his legacy will live on, like the rest of his crewmates.

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