USS Arizona survivor, Navy veteran celebrates 100th birthday, receives personal message from Secret Service


One of the two living survivors from the USS Arizona celebrated his 100th birthday Thursday, with a personal message from the White House Secret Service to wish him well on his special day.

Navy veteran Ken Potts, who now lives in Utah, served on the USS Arizona as a crane operator. Potts was aboard the craft when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, escaping with other sailors who were above-deck at the time.

Some 80 years later, there are only two living survivors: Potts and Lou Conter, the latter turning 99 in September 2020.

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Reaching the centennial landmark did not go unnoticed, and Stg. Jonathan Stockeland, a 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran, sent Potts a happy birthday message filmed in front of the White House.

Sgt. Jonathan Stockeland showing World War II veterans around the White House. The 2017 tour included survivors of the USS Arizona. 

Sgt. Jonathan Stockeland showing World War II veterans around the White House. The 2017 tour included survivors of the USS Arizona. 
(DHS)

Stockeland met Potts in 2017 when he volunteered to give a “Veterans Tour” of the White House while he served as a member of the Secret Service.

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He only later learned that the tour included survivors of the USS Arizona.

World War II veteran Ken Potts met President Trump during a 2017 tour of the White House. Potts is one of two remaining survivors of the USS Arizona, which was lost during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

World War II veteran Ken Potts met President Trump during a 2017 tour of the White House. Potts is one of two remaining survivors of the USS Arizona, which was lost during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
(DHS)

Potts also met former President Trump during the tour.

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Stockeland now says that the highlight of his career was giving that tour, which he concluded in the Map Room of the White House, where President Roosevelt would go for his daily briefings during World War II.

Sgt. Jonathan Stockeland films a message to celebrate veteran Ken Potts' 100th birthday.

Sgt. Jonathan Stockeland films a message to celebrate veteran Ken Potts’ 100th birthday.
(DHS)

Potts will receive many video messages, but Stockeland’s message is a personal one that will be shared with Potts and his family, a Secret Service spokesperson told Fox News.

Potts joined the Navy at 18 when jobs were scarce and the war raged in Europe and the Pacific. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Potts recovered stateside and received a medical discharge.

He reenlisted a year later, serving on a destroyer and fighting in the invasion of the Philippines, according to Stars and Stripes.

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Last year, Potts saw another of his fellow survivors, Don Stratton, pass, leaving him and Lou Conter as the last two.

“It’s important when you get old, like we are,” he said of his bond with his fellow survivors. “It’s especially important when you lose one.”

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

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