Lou Cantor, Last Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Survivor, Dead at 102

Nick Kangadis | April 2, 2024
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“The Greatest Generation” and their era on this Earth is practically gone, and it’s sad, because it’s the last generation that thought it prudent to pass on their teachings en masse to the next generation, “The Baby Boomers,” who didn’t do the same for their progeny.

Lou Conter, 102, passed away on Monday. Why is that important? According to reports, Conter was “the last living survivor of the USS Arizona battleship that exploded during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

As reported by Fox 32 - Chicago (WFLD):

Conter went to flight school after Pearl Harbor, earning his wings to fly PBY patrol bombers, which the Navy used to look for submarines and bomb enemy targets. He flew 200 combat missions in the Pacific with a "Black Cats" squadron, which conducted dive bombing at night in planes painted black.

In 1943, he and his crew had to avoid a dozen sharks after they were shot down near New Guinea. A sailor expressed doubt they would survive, to which Conter replied, “baloney.”[…]

In the late 1950s, he was made the Navy’s first SERE officer — an acronym for survival, evasion, resistance and escape. He spent the next decade training Navy pilots and crew on how to survive if they’re shot down in the jungle and captured as a prisoner of war. Some of his pupils used his lessons as POWs in Vietnam.

Related: Currahee! 'Band of Brothers' Actors Training to Parachute into Normandy for 80th Anniv. of D-Day

In a 2022 interview with the Associated Press (AP), Conter rebuffed the label that survivors like him were “heroes.”

“The 2,403 men that died are the heroes. And we’ve got to honor them ahead of everybody else,” Conter said. “And I’ve said that every time, and I think it should be stressed.”

Conter has an over one-hour interview recorded and published on YouTube in recent years by the American Veterans Center.

You can view the full interview below:


God bless, LCDR (Lieutenant Commander) Conter. Rest in peace, sir.


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