One of many final 2 USS Arizona battleship survivors, Ken Potts, dies at age 102

Ken Potts, one of many final two remaining survivors of the united statesArizona battleship, which sank through the 1941 Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor, has died. He was 102.

Howard Kenton Potts died Friday on the dwelling in Provo, Utah, that he shared along with his spouse of 66 years, based on Randy Stratton, whose late father, Donald Stratton, was Potts’ Arizona shipmate and shut buddy.

Stratton mentioned Potts “had all his marbles” however these days was having a tough time getting away from bed. When Stratton spoke to Potts on his birthday, April 15, he was joyful to have made it to 102.


“However he knew that his physique was form of shutting down on him, and he was simply hoping that he may get higher however (it) turned out not,” Stratton mentioned.

Potts was born and raised in Honey Bend, Illinois, and enlisted within the Navy in 1939.

He was working as a crane operator shuttling provides to the Arizona the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when the Pearl Harbor assault occurred, based on a 2021 article by the Utah Nationwide Guard.

In a 2020 oral historical past interview with the American Veterans Heart, Potts mentioned a loudspeaker ordered sailors again to their ships so he obtained on a ship.

“After I obtained again to Pearl Harbor, the entire harbor was afire,” He mentioned within the interview. “The oil had leaked out and caught on fireplace and was burning.”

Pearl Harbor survivor

Ken Potts attends a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 6, 2016. Potts, one of many final two remaining survivors of the united statesArizona battleship, died on April 21, 2023, in Provo, Utah. (Lance Cpl. Robert Candy/U.S. Marine Corps by way of Alokito Mymensingh 24)

Dozens of ships both sank, capsized or have been broken within the bombing of the Hawaii naval base, which catapulted the U.S. into World Battle II.

Sailors have been tossed or pressured to leap into the oily muck beneath, and Potts and his fellow sailors pulled some to security of their boat.

The Arizona sank simply 9 minutes after being bombed, and its 1,177 useless account for practically half the servicemen killed within the assault. At the moment the battleship nonetheless sits the place it sank eight a long time in the past, with greater than 900 useless entombed inside.

Potts recalled a long time later that some folks have been nonetheless giving orders within the midst of the assault however there was additionally a number of chaos. He carried his recollections of the assault over the course of his lengthy life.


“Even after I obtained out of the Navy, out within the open, and heard a siren, I’d shake,” he mentioned.

Stratton famous that the one remaining survivor from the Arizona is now Lou Conter, who’s 101 and dwelling in California.

“That is historical past. It’s going away,” Stratton mentioned, including: “And as soon as (Conter is) gone, who tells all their tales?”

A number of dozen Arizona survivors have had their ashes interred on the sunken battleship so they may be part of their shipmates, however Potts did not need that, based on Stratton.

“He mentioned he obtained off as soon as, he’s not going to return on board once more,” he mentioned.

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Stratton mentioned many Arizona survivors shared the same dry humorousness. That included his personal father, who was severely burned within the assault and in addition didn’t wish to return to the ship as ashes in an urn.

“‘I’ve been cremated as soon as. I’m not going to be cremated twice,'” Donald Stratton joked, based on the youthful Stratton, earlier than his loss of life in 2020 at age 97.

“They’d that each one all through their lives. They’d the humorousness, they usually knew eventually they’d go,” Randy Stratton mentioned. “Our job now’s to maintain their recollections alive.”

Potts is survived by his spouse, Doris. Info on different survivors was not instantly out there.

Peter Johnson