This Is What Happened When A Pearl Harbor Survivor Had His Life Savings Stolen

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After Navy veteran Jack Holder had his life savings stolen by scammers, a GoFundMe campaign was set up in his name to return the money, and then some.
Photo via GoFundMe

After Navy veteran Jack Holder, had his life savings stolen in a sweepstakes scam, a GoFundMe page created in his name raised enough money to cover his losses, with some to spare.


According to The Arizona Republic, the 94-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor from Sun Lakes, Arizona, received a phone call in March telling him he had won Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes and would receive $4.7 million, as well as a new Mercedes Benz. First, he just needed to provide some personal information and open up a new bank account.

The scammers then told Holder he had to pay taxes before he was given his prizes, and so he and his fiancée wrote several checks totalling $43,000.

Within a week, the thieves made off with the money.

Related: 5 Tips To Avoid Military Housing Scams »

“This was the worst day of my life," Holder told The Arizona Republic, and that says a lot, considering all he’s gone through.

Holder was stationed at Pearl Harbor as a flight engineer when the Japanese military attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. The following year his flight crew took part in the  Battle of Midway, and later served in the skies over Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands. In 1943, while stationed in Devonshire, England, Holder flew 56 missions over the English Channel and engaged German war planes in aerial combat. Holder also lived through a plane crash in the 1960s that left him hospitalized and lost his wife of 69 years to Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.

After reading The Arizona Republic’s coverage of Holder, Shana Schwarz from Gilbert, Arizona, was moved by the story and decided to create the crowdfunding campaign in his name.

“I’m out of work right now,” said Schwarz. “I only donated $25. But I knew I was good with fundraising and I am good with social media. So that’s what I did.”

Schwarz and Holder met for the first time on Memorial Day when she gave him the first installment from the campaign — $19,000 — with the rest to follow.

Since then, Schwarz has transferred control of the campaign to The Greatest Generations Foundation, a nonprofit veterans organization based in Denver, Colorado.

To date the campaign has raised more than $62,000 for Holder.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Holder said told The Arizona Republic. “How in the world will I ever repay people for their graciousness?”

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An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps

"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.

At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.

Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.

"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."

She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."

It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.

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