Ken Potts, one of many final two remaining survivors of the united statesArizona battleship, which sank in the course of the 1941 Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor, has died. He was 102.
Howard Kenton Potts died Friday on the residence in Provo, Utah, that he shared along with his spouse of 66 years, in response to Randy Stratton, whose late father, Donald Stratton, was Potts’ Arizona shipmate and shut buddy.
Stratton stated Potts “had all his marbles” however recently was having a tough time getting off the bed. When Stratton spoke to Potts on his birthday, April 15, he was completely happy 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 stated.
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, in response to a 2021 article by the Utah Nationwide Guard.
In a 2020 oral historical past interview with the American Veterans Middle, Potts stated 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 stated within the interview. “The oil had leaked out and caught on hearth and was burning.”
Dozens of ships both sank, capsized or had been broken within the bombing of the Hawaii naval base, which catapulted the U.S. into World Conflict II.
Sailors had been tossed or compelled to leap into the oily muck under, 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 almost half the servicemen killed within the assault. At present 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 individuals had been nonetheless giving orders within the midst of the assault however there was additionally loads 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 stated.
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 stated, 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 a part of their shipmates, however Potts did not need that, in response to Stratton.
“He stated he obtained off as soon as, he’s not going to return on board once more,” he stated.
Stratton stated many Arizona survivors shared the same dry humorousness. That included his personal father, who was severely burned within the assault and likewise 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, in response to 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 ultimately they might move,” Randy Stratton stated. “Our job now’s to maintain their recollections alive.”
Potts is survived by his spouse, Doris. Info on different survivors was not instantly obtainable.