You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Last Pearl Harbor survivors remember "Day of Infamy"

SHOTLIST:RESTRICTION SUMMARY:US War Department via Associated PressARCHIVE: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - 7 December 19411. Various historic footage of Japanese attack on Pearl HarborHEADLINE: Last survivors remember "Day of infamy"ASSOCIATED PRESSGrass Valley, California - 18 November 2022+++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY COVERED+++2. SOUNDBITE (English) Lou Contor, Pearl Harbor Survivor:"December 7th is a very big day and the 2403 military men that were killed that day should get the recognition above everybody. They gave their life and they gave their all. And of those 2403 men who got to killed, 1177 were on the Arizona and shipmates of mine."US War Department via Associated PressARCHIVE: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - 7 December 19413. Historic footage of Japanese attack on Pearl HarborASSOCIATED PRESSGrass Valley, California - 18 November 20224. Debris from USS Arizona displayed in Contor's home5. Framed photo of Contor taken one month after the Pearl Harbor attack6. Framed photo of Contor and Potts+++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY COVERED+++7. SOUNDBITE (English) Lou Contor, Pearl Harbor Survivor:"I'd like to be there because there's only two of us still living from the Arizona, Ken Potts and myself. He lives in Provo, Utah. He's six months older than I am. His legs are not in good shape. I talk to him every 2, 3 or four weeks."ASSOCIATED PRESSARCHIVE: Pearl Harbor - 14 August 20158. Various ceremony marking end of World War IIASSOCIATED PRESSGrass Valley, California - 18 November 20229. SOUNDBITE (English) Lou Contor, Pearl Harbor Survivor:"We were going every year for years. My doctor says getting there, flying there is only a few hours. But getting to the airport and getting up there and sitting around waiting there eight or ten hours is too much to take at your age, I don't want you getting sick."10. SOUNDBITE (English) Jim Contor, Son:"We'll be here. The family will all be here on the seventh. You know, we'll watch the ceremony on the TV and everything else."11. Rack focus from one of Contor's many awards to old photo of him in uniform+++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY COVERED+++12. SOUNDBITE (English) Jim Contor, Son:"It's going to be a sad day. But he's an American hero. Not only is he an American hero, he's my hero. You know, so it's pretty cool."13. Contor sits in front of painting of USS Arizona memorial+++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY COVERED+++14. SOUNDBITE (English) Lou Contor, Pearl Harbor Survivor:"We're not heroes. They call us heroes but we're not. It's the 2403 men that died are the heroes. And we've got to honor them ahead of everybody else."15. Contor's Pearl Harbor Survivor hat16. Contor puts on hatSTORYLINEUSS Arizona sailor Lou Conter lived through the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor even though his battleship exploded and sank after being pierced by two aerial bombs.That makes the 101-year-old somewhat of a current-day celebrity, especially on the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 assault.Many call him and others in the nation's dwindling pool of Pearl Harbor survivors heroes.But Conter rejects the characterization."The 2,403 men that died are the heroes. And we've got to honor them ahead of everybody else. And I've said that every time, and I think it should be stressed," Conter said in a recent interview at his Grass Valley, California home north of Sacramento.The Arizona's 1,177 dead account for nearly half of the military service members killed that day.For many years Conter flew back to Hawaii to attend an annual remembrance ceremony on December 7 honoring those killed.But his doctor has told him the five-hour flight, plus hours of waiting at airports, is now too strenuous for him. So he will watch a video feed of this year's 81st anniversary observance from home.Dozens of Pearl Harbor survivors in their 90s and a few centenarians managed to make the pilgrimage as recently as right before the pandemic.But the U.S. Navy and the National Park Service anticipate only one survivor will likely attend in person on Wednesday.Another 20 to 30 veterans of World War II are also expected to be there."I'm going to 102 now. It's kind of hard to mess around," Conter said.Conter likes to remind people when talking about Pearl Harbor that the attack lasted a mere few hours, while World War II lasted for another four years.Conter went to flight school after Pearl Harbor, earning his wings to fly PBY patrol bombers, which the Navy used to hunt for submarines and bomb enemy targets.He flew 200 combat missions in the Pacific with a "Black Cats" squadron, which conducted dive bombing at night in planes painted black.One night in 1943 he and his crew had to avoid a dozen or so nearby sharks after they were shot down near New Guinea.When one sailor expressed doubt they would survive, Conter responded "baloney.""Don't ever panic in any situation. Survive is the first thing you tell them. Don't panic or you're dead," he said. They were quiet and treaded water until another plane came and dropped them a lifeboat hours later.In the late 1950s, he was made the Navy's first SERE officer _ which is an acronym for survival, evasion, resistance and escape.He spent the next decade training servicemen on how to survive if they're shot down in the jungle and if they're captured as a prisoner of war.Some of his pupils used his instruction to live through years as POWs in Vietnam.===========================================================Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory.
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon