It's been almost 70 years, but Jack Schwartz still remembers being held in captivity. Japanese forces captured the Hanford resident just three days after Pearl Harbor. "You bathe maybe once a year. Have fleas and lice. You're hungry -- but I was fortunately never mistreated terribly so I cant complain about it I never have."
The World War II veteran spent 1,667 days as a prisoner of war. But even after liberation in 1945, he stayed in the service.
In two weeks, on the very day he turns 99, Schwartz will be on a plane headed to Washington D.C. as part of the honor flight. He's seen all the monuments in the country's capitol before, but is looking forward to the experience with others who have served. "Seeing it with a group of veterans is quite a thrill really."
On Wednesday afternoon, the Fresno chapter of the American Ex Prisoners of War held an early birthday celebration for Schwartz and two other veterans, complete with cake and camaraderie.
The two other honorees were on the first honor flight to Washington D.C., and say if given the opportunity, they'd do it again.