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. 

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

The USS Arizona’s bombing was the deadliest of the attacks that day, killing 1,117 people — nearly half of the 2,403 who died during the Pearl Harbor attack. Conter was one of just 334 people assigned to the USS Arizona who survived.

Conter escaped the burning wreckage, and 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.”

The USS Arizona was so badly damaged that it was left to sink instead of being repaired. Its ruins are still underwater and viewable from the USS Arizona Memorial, which towers above it. 

Subsequently, Conter became part of a team that flew Black Cat aircraft overnight doing bomb runs in the South Pacific. He was shot down twice, in September and December 1943, and used lifeboats to get to shore. 

In the early 1950s he served again in the Korean War. 

Conter retired from the Navy in 1967 as a lieutenant commander and became a real-estate developer in California. 

[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]