The veterans of this country have given so much to defend us that it is only right that we feel the need to honor them and their service. More than 80 years after Pearl Harbor, we still have courageous men and women who served the country back then.
One of those brave men was Jack Holder who has passed away at the age of 101 after telling his incredible story many times.
Jack Holder was a Pearl Harbor survivor. He was a World War II aviator who had served over 11 missions in the Pacific and Europe. The veteran died in Arizona at the age of 101.
Darlene Tryon, a close friend of Holder and executor, said he died Friday at a hospital in Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial also announced the veteran’s death.
Holder was born in Gunter, Texas into a family. He enlisted in the Navy in 1940, aged just 18. He was on duty at Ford Island in Oahu’s Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked the US naval base on December 7, 1941.
Holder often spoke about the events of that day. He said, “The first bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor was about 100 meters from me,” adding, “I saw guys swimming through burning oil in the water.”
The veteran recalled jumping into a ditch to avoid being shot. He ducked behind the security of a sandbag fortress. “I wondered if this was the day I was going to die,” Holder recalled in a 2016 interview. “That morning I watched Japanese dive bombers devastate Pearl Harbor. I knew we would no longer be sitting on the sidelines of the war that was ravaging Europe,” he said.
In the days following the attack, Holder spent time constructing a makeshift machine gun pit. He lined a ditch with sandbags for protection.
Around 2,400 soldiers were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor that propelled the US into World War II. The USS Arizona alone lost 1,177 Sailors and Marines, accounting for nearly half of the fatalities.
During his service, Holder fought at the Battle of Midway. He also flew missions over Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands before being posted to England and flew missions along the French coast and the English Channel.
Holder was presented with several honors, including two Distinguished Flight Cross Medals, six Air Medals, a Presidential Mention, and six Commendation Medals. In 1948 he was honorably discharged from service.
After his honorable discharge from service, Holder served 25 years as a corporate and commercial pilot. In his spare time he played golf and later moved to a retirement home in Arizona.
In his retirement, he became an avid educator of World War II. According to his girlfriend Darlene Tryon, he was a regular at Pearl Harbor memorials, museums, and schools.
On his 100th birthday, he was asked to take a flight of honor from Mesas Falcon Field to celebrate. When asked about the secret to his long life, the veteran said, “Good cardio training and two scotches and sodas every night.”
Tryon said a memorial service is planned for Holder in Phoenix in early April. The decorated veteran will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
Although there are no official statistics on how many men and women who fought at Pearl Harbor are still alive, it is believed that there are not many. So it’s best to honor those who served whenever we find them.
Our prayers go out to the family and loved ones of Jack Holder. Be sure to share this story so others can experience his incredible story too.
https://news.detroitdailynews.com/2023/03/03/jack-holder-a-101-year-old-pearl-harbor-survivor-dies-after-sharing-his-astounding-tale/ Jack Holder, a 101-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor, dies after telling his amazing story