HONOLULU — Ken Potts, one of the last two remaining survivors of the USS Arizona battleship, which sank during the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, has died. He was 102.
Howard Kenton Potts died Friday at the home in Provo, Utah, that he shared with his wife of 66 years, according to Randy Stratton, whose late father, Donald Stratton, was Potts’ Arizona shipmate and close friend.
Stratton said Potts “had all his marbles” but lately was having a hard time getting out of bed. When Stratton spoke to Potts on his birthday, April 15, he was happy to have made it to 102.
“But he knew that his body was kind of shutting down on him, and he was just hoping that he could get better but (it) turned out not,” Stratton said.
Potts was born and raised in Honey Bend, Illinois, and enlisted in the Navy in 1939.
He was working as a crane operator shuttling supplies to the Arizona the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when the Pearl Harbor attack happened, according to a 2021 article by the Utah National Guard.
In a 2020 oral history interview with the American Veterans Center, Potts said a loudspeaker ordered sailors back to their ships so he got on a boat.
“When I got back to Pearl Harbor, the whole harbor was afire,” He said in the interview. “The oil had leaked out and caught on fire and was burning.”
One of the last two remaining survivors of the USS Arizona battleship, which sank during the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, has died.www.airforcetimes.com