Valley nonprofit taking WWII hero on honor flight for his 100th birthday

Dec 9, 2021, 1:00 PM

Jack Holder (Department of Defense File Photo/Lisa Ferdinando; Grounded No More Photo)...

Jack Holder (Department of Defense File Photo/Lisa Ferdinando; Grounded No More Photo)

(Department of Defense File Photo/Lisa Ferdinando; Grounded No More Photo)

PHOENIX – A Valley nonprofit is giving a World War II hero who survived Pearl Harbor a sky-high lift to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Grounded No More is taking Jack Holder on an honor flight in a vintage military plane Sunday out of Mesa’s Falcon Field.

Holder’s flight with pilot Tony Anger is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Grounded No More is a nonprofit Christian mission that supports veterans by providing free flights in a Fairchild PT-26 WWII trainer called Amazing Grace.

Holder, a Chandler resident, was on duty with the Navy on Hawaii’s Ford Island when Japanese aircraft attacked 80 years ago.

He recently told Cronkite News he was about 100 yards away from where the first bomb fell.

“The section leader had just started roll call when the first bomb dropped,” he said. “And we all run outside to see what had happened in the explosion.

“We seen all the aircraft and this guy with a rising sun insignia. We knew exactly what had happened.”

More than 2,000 U.S. military personnel, including more than 1,000 aboard the USS Arizona, were killed in the attack, prompting the U.S. to enter the war.

Holder went on to fly more than 100 missions during the war, including at the Battle of Midway, according to the Cronkite News story.

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Valley nonprofit taking WWII hero on honor flight for his 100th birthday