Ken Potts, one of many final two remaining survivors of the usArizona battleship, which sank throughout 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, in keeping with Randy Stratton, whose late father, Donald Stratton, was Potts’ Arizona shipmate and shut good friend.
Stratton stated Potts “had all his marbles” however currently was having a tough time getting away from bed. When Stratton spoke to Potts on his birthday, April 15, he was blissful to have made it to 102.
“However he knew that his physique was sort of shutting down on him, and he was simply hoping that he might 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 keeping with a 2021 article by the Utah Nationwide Guard.
In a 2020 oral historical past interview with the American Veterans Heart, Potts stated a loudspeaker ordered sailors again to their ships so he bought on a ship.
“Once I bought 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 Battle II.
Sailors had been tossed or compelled 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. Immediately the battleship nonetheless sits the place it sank eight many years in the past, with greater than 900 useless entombed inside.
Potts recalled many years later that some folks had been nonetheless giving orders within the midst of the assault however there was additionally a number of chaos. He carried his reminiscences of the assault over the course of his lengthy life.
“Even after I bought out of the Navy, out within the open, and heard a siren, I would 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 is 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 part of their shipmates, however Potts did not need that, in keeping with Stratton.
“He stated he bought off as soon as, he isn’t going to return on board once more,” he stated.
Stratton stated many Arizona survivors shared an analogous 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 have been cremated as soon as. I am not going to be cremated twice,'” Donald Stratton joked, in keeping with the youthful Stratton, earlier than his demise in 2020 at age 97.
“That they had that each one all through their lives. That they had the humorousness, and so they knew eventually they’d move,” Randy Stratton stated. “Our job now could be to maintain their reminiscences alive.”
Potts is survived by his spouse, Doris. Info on different survivors was not instantly out there.