Pearl Harbor survivor dies at 102

Apr. 22, 2024  PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Louis Anthony Conter

Sept. 13, 1921 – April 1, 2024


Lou Conter, the last known survivor of the USS Arizona, an American warship that was bombed and sank in Pearl Harbor in 1941, has died. He was 102.

Conter died Monday morning (April 1) at his home in Grass Valley, Calif., according to his daughter Louann Daley.

Born in Ojibwa, Wis., in 1921, Conter was 20 years old when the USS Arizona was bombed by Japanese forces at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The USS Arizona’s bombing was the deadliest of the attacks that day, killing 1,177 people—nearly half of the 2,403 who died during Pearl Harbor. Conter was one of just 334 people assigned to the USS Arizona who survived.

Conter escaped the burning wreckage. As he and others guided crew members to safety, “more often than not, their burned skin would come off on our hands,” he wrote in his 2021 memoir, “The Lou Conter Story.”

Despite his work that day, he said he didn’t want to be called a hero.

“I consider the heroes the ones that gave their lives, that never came home to their families,” Conter said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year.

Conter got his pilot wings in November 1942, and was part of a team that flew Black Cat aircraft overnight doing bomb runs in the South Pacific, Conter said. He was shot down twice, once in September 1943 and a second time three months later. Both times, Conter said, he used a lifeboat to get to shore.

Joseph Pisani / WSJ


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