Pearl Harbor survivor, WWII hero Jack Holder dies in Chandler at age 101

Feb 27, 2023, 11:11 AM | Updated: Apr 10, 2023, 9:44 am

Jack Holder (Photos via Facebook/Pearl Harbor National Memorial)...

Jack Holder (Photos via Facebook/Pearl Harbor National Memorial)

(Photos via Facebook/Pearl Harbor National Memorial)

PHOENIX — Jack Holder, a Pearl Harbor survivor and World War II hero who settled in Chandler, has died at age 101.

Holder died Friday at the Chandler Regional Medical Center, according to a post on the Pacific Historic Parks Facebook page by Darlene Tryon, a close friend of Holder and executor of his estate.

Pacific Historic Parks is a nonprofit group that supports several historic sites, including Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawaii. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial Facebook page also posted about Holder’s death.

Holder was born to a farming family in East Texas and joined the Navy in 1940 when he was 18. He was on duty at Ford Island within Oahu’s Pearl Harbor when Japanese aircraft bombed the U.S. naval base there on Dec. 7, 1941.

“I saw the [USS] Oklahoma turn turtle-up, I saw guys swimming through burning oil in the water,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM in 2020.

“I guess the most vivid remembrance I have is thinking ‘God, please don’t let me die in this ditch.’”

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 World War II.

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

“Jack was an incredible man, a patriot who served his country with distinction and honor,” Tryon wrote. “After surviving the Pearl Harbor attack, he fought in key Pacific battles that turned the tide of the war.”

Holder published a memoir titled “Fear, Adrenaline, and Excitement” in 2016.

In December 2021, Valley nonprofit Grounded No More took the war hero on an honor flight out of Mesa’s Falcon Field to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Holder will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be announced, Tryon said. A memorial service is being planned for Phoenix in early April.

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Pearl Harbor survivor, WWII hero Jack Holder dies in Chandler at age 101