CHANDLER, Ariz. - Jack Holder, an Arizona man who was one of the last remaining survivors of Pearl Harbor, has died. He was 101.
Holder's death was announced by the Pearl Harbor National Memorial on Feb. 26.
Holder was 19 years old when he was transferred to Pearl Harbor in December 1940. Almost a year later, the Japanese attacked the U.S. Naval base, killing over 2,400 Americans.
Holder said the first bomb that fell was only about 100 yards away from him.
Holder survived the attack and continued in the Navy as a pilot. He flew over 100 missions and was honorably discharged in 1948.
After his Navy career, Holder became a commercial pilot for decades, before retiring in Chandler.
A memorial ceremony for Holder was held on April 14 at Cornerstone Church in Chandler.
‘A true American hero’
"101 years old. I mean, what a great life," said Tony Anger, president of Grounded Veterans No More, at Jack's memorial ceremony.
"A true American hero, and a Pearl Harbor survivor whose courage and bravery has inspired us all," remarked Arizona Rep. Greg Stanton.
"Jack became a passionate mentor and an avid WWII educator, giving impassioned first-hand accounts of history well into his one hundredth year," State Senator Ken Bennett remembered.
Anger remarked on the lasting impression Jack made on the nation's youth.
"Jack spent so much time going to the local schools, talking to the kids, and he just had this way, the bright red hair he had until the day he died, and this glowing face," Anger said. "These kids would just stand there with their mouths open."
Those who knew him recounted his love of life, alongside his humble and gracious spirit.
"He was a 20-year-old kid really experiencing all that, so to get to meet him and to be considered a friend and part of his team, it was just wonderful," Mark Whitaker, Jack's friend, said.
"I think Jack is really looking at us, and seeing who’s here," said his friend Chief Petty Officer Henry Kudzik.
As friend and fellow WWII veteran Kudzik says he finds comfort in one day seeing jack again, he remarks, "He’s with the lord."
Jack will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia at a later date with full honors.
Location where memorial service will be held: