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An oil painting of retired Lt. Cmdr. Louis (Lou) Conter, painted by Julie Thurston of Julie Thurston Fine Art, is displayed during his memorial service at the St. Patrick Catholic Church, Grass Valley, Calif, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. Conter was 102 when he passed away peacefully in his home. In addition to being the last living USS Arizona survivor, Conter also flew more than 200 missions in the South Pacific and survived being shot down twice.

An oil painting of retired Lt. Cmdr. Louis (Lou) Conter, painted by Julie Thurston of Julie Thurston Fine Art, is displayed during his memorial service at the St. Patrick Catholic Church, Grass Valley, Calif, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. Conter was 102 when he passed away peacefully in his home. In addition to being the last living USS Arizona survivor, Conter also flew more than 200 missions in the South Pacific and survived being shot down twice. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

The last survivor of the USS Arizona’s sinking during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor has been laid to rest.

Lou Conter was memorialized by family, friends, veterans, active-duty service members and community leaders at a service Tuesday at Saint Patrick Catholic Cemetery in Grass Valley, Calif. Conter, who died at 102 at his home in Grass Valley on April 1, received full military honors conducted by sailors from Navy Reserve Center Sacramento, Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 23 and a flyover from Strike Fighter Squadrons 125 and 151.

Conter was laid to rest next to his wife Valerie.

Aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadrons 125 and 151 conduct a flyover at retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s memorial service in Grass Valley, Calif., Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

Aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadrons 125 and 151 conduct a flyover at retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s memorial service in Grass Valley, Calif., Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

“Lou Conter represents the best of America through his example of service, patriotism and courage. These ideals, so common with Lou’s generation, are still an inspiration for today’s sailors and Marines,” Rear Adm. Richard Brophy, chief of Naval Air Training, said during the ceremony. “I am honored to have been invited, in this final flight of his life, as a representative of the service for which he has sacrificed so much for.”

Conter was born Sept. 13, 1921, in Ojibwa, Wis., and enlisted in the Navy in 1939. He reported to the USS Arizona in Hawaii in 1940 with the rank of quartermaster third class.

On the Sunday morning of the surprise Japanese attack, Conter was on watch on the quarterdeck station between the ship’s third turret and main deck when sirens began wailing to announce the first wave, he said in an audio interview in 2015 for the National World War II Museum. When the first bomb hit the Arizona, Conter was knocked forward onto the deck, while many of his fellow crew members were blown entirely off the ship.

Conter escaped on a lifeboat. In the following days, he worked at the grim task of recovering bodies from the harbor and containing fires, he said.

Smoke rises from the battleship USS Arizona as it sinks during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941.

Smoke rises from the battleship USS Arizona as it sinks during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Navy)

He would go on to fly more than 200 missions in the South Pacific and was shot down twice. After the war, he became an intelligence officer and flew combat missions during the Korean War while he was assigned to the USS Bon Homme Richard. He is credited with creating the Navy’s first survival, evasion, resistance and escape program, or SERE, according to the Historic Pacific Parks.

Sailors sought out opportunities to assist with Conter’s memorial service any way they could, Petty Officer 2nd Class Morgan Danfelt, a hospital corpsman and NRC Sacramento funeral honor detail coordinator, said in a Navy news release.

“There were a lot more hands involved with this service than we generally see,” Danfelt said. “We had a lot of sailors who were very eager to be a part of this because it is an honor. All of us wanted to do absolutely the very best job we could to provide a memorable service for his family members.”

Louann Daley, retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s daughter, receives a flag from Rear Adm. Richard Brophy, chief of Naval Air Training, at Conter’s memorial service.

Louann Daley, retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s daughter, receives a flag from Rear Adm. Richard Brophy, chief of Naval Air Training, at Conter’s memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

After receiving the folded American flag from Brophy, Louann Daley, Conter’s daughter and next of kin, spoke about the importance of the military in both her and her father’s lives.

“We could not have gotten through it without the support of the military,” she said. “The military was such a big part of his life. This was the final salute. We were so blessed to have him for 102 years.”

Stars and Stripes reporter Wyatt Olson contributed to this report.

Grass Valley, Calif., firefighters raise a flag over the street in celebration of the memorial service of retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter.

Grass Valley, Calif., firefighters raise a flag over the street in celebration of the memorial service of retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Pallbearers carry the casket of retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter into the St. Patrick Catholic Church for his memorial service.

Pallbearers carry the casket of retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter into the St. Patrick Catholic Church for his memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Family, friends, military personnel, and community leaders gather at the St. Patrick Catholic Church for retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s memorial service.

Family, friends, military personnel, and community leaders gather at the St. Patrick Catholic Church for retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Sgt. Noemi Basaldua of Maintenance Service Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 23, leads a Marine Corps honor detail at retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s memorial service.

Sgt. Noemi Basaldua of Maintenance Service Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 23, leads a Marine Corps honor detail at retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Navy Reserve Center Sacramento funeral honor detail sailors carry the casket of retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter during his memorial service.

Navy Reserve Center Sacramento funeral honor detail sailors carry the casket of retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter during his memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Navy Reserve Center funeral honor detail sailors stand at attention around retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s casket during his memorial service.

Navy Reserve Center funeral honor detail sailors stand at attention around retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s casket during his memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Louann Daley, retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s daughter, looks on as Navy Reserve Center Sacramento funeral honor detail sailors stand at attention around Conter’s casket during his memorial service.

Louann Daley, retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s daughter, looks on as Navy Reserve Center Sacramento funeral honor detail sailors stand at attention around Conter’s casket during his memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Navy Reserve Center Sacramento funeral honor detail sailors ceremoniously fold the flag above retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s casket at his memorial service.

Navy Reserve Center Sacramento funeral honor detail sailors ceremoniously fold the flag above retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s casket at his memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Rear Adm. Richard Brophy, chief of Naval Air Training, salutes the passing casket of retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter during Conter’s memorial service.

Rear Adm. Richard Brophy, chief of Naval Air Training, salutes the passing casket of retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter during Conter’s memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Builder Seaman Bailey Albert, of Navy Reserve Center Sacramento funeral honor detail, prepares the flag for transfer at retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s memorial service.

Builder Seaman Bailey Albert, of Navy Reserve Center Sacramento funeral honor detail, prepares the flag for transfer at retired Lt. Cmdr. Lou Conter’s memorial service. (John Pearl/U.S. Navy)

Brian McElhiney is reporter for Stars and Stripes based in Okinawa, Japan. He has worked as a music reporter and editor for publications in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Oregon. One of his earliest journalistic inspirations came from reading Stars and Stripes as a kid growing up in Okinawa.

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