One of the last remaining survivors from the USS Arizona arrived in Hawaii with a hero’s welcome.
A wall of sailors saluted 98-year-old Lou Conter moments after he deplaned Hawaiian Airlines flight. The California resident and his family attended a memorial ceremony to mark the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack on Saturday, Dec. 7, according to Hawaii News Now.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Conter was serving as a quartermaster third class on the Arizona when the Japanese launched a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
After the bombing, he helped with firefighting and rescue efforts. He also recovered bodies from the battleship.
More than 2,400 Americans were killed and over 1,000 were wounded in the attack. More than 300 aircraft and 19 Navy ships, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed.
For nearly 30 years, the veteran has returned to pay his respects. He said he plans to keep coming to Hawaii each year for as long as possible.
“I always come out to pay respect for the 2,403 men that were killed that day, including 1,177 of my shipmates on the Arizona,” he told Hawaii News Now upon his arrival in the islands.
This year, the remains of his former shipmate, Lauren Bruner, were returned to the ship.
The other two USS Arizona survivors, Donald Stratton and Ken Potts, have indicated that they’re no longer able to travel and attend the ceremony in Hawaii.