Pearl Harbor survivor takes flight on 100th birthday

The flight was made possible by the non-profit “Grounded No More.”

Jack Holder takes to the skies on his 100th birthday. (KPHO, KTVK, CNN)

MESA, Ariz. – A WWII veteran entered the “Century Club” with his head in the clouds - figuratively speaking.

Jack Holder turned 100 years old on December 13. But unlike most people his age, he spent it in the cockpit of “Amazing Grace”, a WWII aircraft.

Holder was a 19-year-old U.S. Navy pilot stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked on December 7, 1941. He was forced to jump in a ditch to avoid Japanese gunfire. 80 years later, he remembers the day vividly.

“What was really the horror was seeing my shipmates jumping off the ships into the water was covered in oil and on fire,” Holder said.

He flew in over 100 missions during WWII and continued his career as a commercial pilot after the war. Today, while he doesn’t fly anymore, Holder remembers his flying days while he’s busy on the golf course.

“I feel like I’d like to do it more often if I’m on a golf course and I see a plane come over,” he said. “I visualize everything in the cockpit.”

Holder’s free flight was provided by “Grounded No More,” a non-profit that offers free flights to veterans of all ages.

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