A Sun Lakes resident who survived the Pearl Harbor attack has written a book chronicling his experience as an aircraft flight engineer during World War II.
Jack Holder’s story begins at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Through the next four years, his life changed forever as he felt the adrenaline, excitement and fear of a war that took him to Midway, Guadalcanal, the English Channel and many other places during the conflict.
In fact, that’s the title of his book, Adrenaline, Excitement and Fear. The book was published January 1, 2015 and is available at www.FarabeePublishing.com.
Holder was on duty that day at Ford Island and recalls the men had just fallen in for muster, when “we heard a terrible explosion. We ran outside the hangar and saw the hangar next to ours engulfed in smoke and flames. We also saw several planes overhead with the rising sun markings.” He knew instantly the U.S. had been drawn into World War II.
He and other men dove into a ditch behind the hangar. A Japanese fighter saw them and started firing, but hit the dirt piled up beside the ditch, missing the men by only a few feet.
The book also chronicles Holder’s experience during the Battle of Midway. Holder was a flight engineer in the second PB-Y Catalina aircraft that spotted the Japanese fleet. The next day Navy dive bombers destroyed three Japanese aircraft carriers and a fourth carrier a few days later. Victory in the Battle of Midway turned the tide for the U.S. against the Japanese.
The rest of the book follows Holder from Guadalcanal where he flew 34 missions as a flight engineer, to San Diego where he trained as a flight engineer in B-24 aircraft, to England where he flew 56 missions patrolling the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay.
He was discharged from the Navy in 1948.
Holder has given dozens of speeches about his Pearl Harbor experience to local groups throughout the Chandler area. He was one of 12 Pearl Harbor survivors invited by the Greatest Generations Foundation to attend a ceremony for survivors at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 2014. He was selected as WWII Grand Marshall for the Phoenix Veterans Day parade November 11.