USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Assemblywoman Megan Dahle honors an American hero

Today‚ I write with a heavy heart as we collectively mourn the passing of a true American hero‚ Lieutenant Commander Lou Conter‚ the last living survivor of the USS Arizona and resident of California’s 1st Assembly District.

Lieutenant Commander Lou Conter, center.

Many of you may remember our privilege of honoring Conter during our celebration of Armed Forces Day in 2023. His presence was a sobering reminder of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who served our country during one of its darkest hours. Among the 1‚177 officers and crewmen who lost their lives on the USS Arizona‚ fewer than 100 survived. Conter’s survival and subsequent service‚ stand as a testament to his resilience and dedication to our country.

Conter’s service to his country did not end there. He went on to become a Naval pilot flying hundreds of combat missions in both World War II and the Korean War. His dedication extended beyond the battlefield as he became the Navy’s very first SERE officer‚ imparting critical survival skills to fellow airmen. Throughout his military career‚ he earned the esteemed rank of lieutenant commander before retiring. Even in his later years‚ he faithfully attended annual memorial services at Pearl Harbor‚ ensuring that the sacrifices of his fallen comrades were never forgotten.

It was with great privilege that Senator Brian Dahle recognized him on the Senate Floor in Sacramento on July 10‚ as Conter celebrated his remarkable 102nd birthday last summer. Today‚ as we bid farewell to this extraordinary individual‚ we express our deepest gratitude for his service and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.

In remembrance of Lieutenant Commander Lou Conter and all those who have served and continue to serve our great nation‚ may we strive to uphold the values of courage‚ sacrifice‚ and patriotism that they exemplify.