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Lou Conter, last living USS Arizona survivor after Pearl Harbor attack, dies at 102

Lou Conter, last living USS Arizona survivor, dies
Lou Conter, last living USS Arizona survivor, dies 02:23

GRASS VALLEY – The sole living survivor from the sinking of the USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack that brought the US into World War II has now died.

Lou Conter, who lived in Grass Valley, was 20 years old at the time of the attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

There were 2,403 Americans killed in the attack – including 1,177 of Arizona's crew. Conter was one of the only 335 officers and crewmen who survived.

"He helped rescue fellow crewmembers and recover bodies in the days that followed," the National WWII Museum said in a statement on Conter's passing.

Over the years, Conter shared his experiences and visited Hawaii for remembrance ceremonies.

"Minute it happened, we sounded general quarters and they were in there and we blew up in about eight minutes, nine minutes," Conter told CBS13 in 2022.

Conter went on to serve in three wars, flying 200 missions as a pilot -- and was even shot down twice. Conter also helped create the Navy's first Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training program before retiring in 1967 as a lieutenant commander.

On Monday, April 1, Conter's daughter confirmed that the veteran had died earlier in the morning at his Northern California home in Grass Valley while under hospice care. He was 102.

How many Pearl Harbor survivors are still living?

Fewer than two dozen survivors of the attack are still alive in 2024.

As most are now well into their 90s or older, the number of living World War II veterans continues to dwindle.

According to the National World War II Museum, only about 119,000 of the 16.1 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive today – with around 131 dying each day. 

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