Northern California World War II veteran and retired Lieutenant Commander Lou Conter is officially the last living survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
As the last living survivor of Pearl Harbor at 101 years old, Conter was recently honored by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.). District 2 Supervisor and Board Chair Ed Scofield delivered the governor’s letter to Conter in June.
“Lieutenant Commander Conter has served our country well,” Scofield remarked. “It’s truly an honor to present this letter from our California Governor to Lou.”
Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.) also honored Conter, stating, “My constituent, Commander Lou Conter, is the last survivor of Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona.”
Kiley described Conter as “a hero in every sense of the word” who selflessly helped evacuate his fellow shipmates during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In a post on Twitter, Kiley shared a statement that Conter had previously shared regarding the heroism of America’s service members who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“The 2,403 men that died are the heroes,” Conter said. “And we’ve got to honor them ahead of everybody else.”
According to a Nevada County press release, Conter first enlisted in the Navy in 1939 before being stationed on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Conter was one of just 334 members of the USS Arizona to survive the attack, while over 1,000 service members on the ship were killed.
Conter served 28 years of active duty in the United States military, fought in three different wars, and was an aide to Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, before retring in 1968.
During an Armed Forces Day event earlier this year, the County of Nevada, the Grass Valley Downtown Association, and the City of Grass Valley recognized Conter’s incredible service to the United States.
The event featured a World War II aircraft flyover and the attendance of Kiley and Republican State Sen. Brian Dahle, who presented the World War II veteran with certificates of recognition.
Despite being honored for his service, Conter maintained his humility, stating, “I’m not a hero. My fellow crewmates who didn’t make it out alive are the heroes. I’ll never forget them.”