Louis Conter, one of the two remaining USS Arizona (BB 39) survivors described the events of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in an interview, ValleyCentral.com reported Monday.
“We knew that something was going to happen long before that; we’d been training for it for a year and a half,” he explained.
Conter was near the back end of the ship when it received the fatal bomb hit. When it happened, he began helping wounded sailors escape.
“The fire was all around the ship where the oil was,” he said.
Conter stayed on board the stricken vessel after the attack, helping to fight the fires and to recover the bodies of shipmates who didn’t escape the battleship.
After the attack, Conter became a pilot, and flew the Consolidated PBY Catalina in the Solomons, helping to rescue over 200 coast watchers and surviving being shot down twice. He retired from the Navy in 1967 as a lieutenant commander, according to ValleyCentral.com (RELATED: President Trump Meets With 106-Year-Old Pearl Harbor Veteran)
“I’m no hero. I don’t believe myself as a hero. I just did my job and did what had to be done to protect America and the American flag,” he said.
Conter was unable to attend commemorative events for the Pearl Harbor attack this year due to the coronavirus, but hopes to attend next year, when he will be 100.