Centennial birthday bash makes Jack S. among oldest living WWII POWs
Naval civil engineer Jack Schwartz was captured by the Japanese military on the island of Guam two days after the United States was thrust into World War II by an orchestrated attack on Pearl Harbor.
The majority of Jack’s war experience – 1,376 days to be exact – was spent as a Japanese prisoner. Seventy-four years later, the man who endured most of World War II in a Kawasaki, Japan, prison camp celebrated his 100th birthday. On April 28, Jack celebrated among family and friends at The Remington in Hanford, California. The celebration puts Jack in elite company; he is one of the oldest living American POWs.
Family and friends gathered at The Remington and danced to 1930s, 40s, and 50s music while celebrating a man with as much energy at 100 as he had at 25 years old.
Recalling his time spent imprisoned in Japan, Jack praised luck over anything else. “I consider myself the luckiest POW,” he said. “I didn’t have to do hard labor because I was an officer, and I was never terribly mistreated.”
Born and raised Californian, Jack was an exceptionally smart young man, graduating high school at the age of 15 and earning his engineering degree at the California Institute of Technology before enlisting in the Navy. After the war ended, Jack continued to serve in the military until he retired from the Navy in 1962.
Even though Jack retired from military service, he continued to stay busy working as a city engineer for the Hanover Public Works Department until 1980. Refusing to be slowed by retirement, Jack has since served as a member of the Kings Country Grand Jury and enjoys woodworking in his spare time.
While his time spent as a prisoner of war under usually harsh Japanese imprisonment played a large role in Jack’s life, it is only a small part of the life of a man whose service to his country and community makes The Remington proud to call him one of their own.
Happy birthday, Jack!
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