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Lou Conter, last survivor of USS Arizona from Pearl Harbor attack, dies at 102

The 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 attack.
Conter, the last living survivor of the USS Arizona battleship that exploded and sank during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, died on Monday, April 1, 2024, following congestive heart failure, his daughter said. He was 102.
Pearl Harbor survivor Lou Conter at his home in Grass Valley, Calif., on Nov. 18, 2022. Rich Pedroncelli / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

HONOLULU — Lou Conter, the last living survivor of the USS Arizona battleship that exploded and sank during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, has died. He was 102.

Conter passed away on Monday at his home in Grass Valley, California, following congestive heart failure, his daughter, Louann Daley said, adding she was beside him along with two of her brothers, James and Jeff.

The 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 attack.

Conter was a quartermaster, standing on the main deck of the Arizona as Japanese planes flew overhead at 7:55 a.m. on Dec. 7 that year. Sailors were just beginning to hoist colors or raise the flag when the assault began.

Conter recalled how one bomb penetrated steel decks 13 minutes into the battle and set off more than 1 million pounds of gunpowder stored below.

The explosion lifted the battleship 30 to 40 feet out of the water, he said during a 2008 oral history interview stored at the Library of Congress. Everything was on fire from the mainmast forward, he said.