NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — At 104 years old, World War II veteran Joseph Eskenazi is the oldest and one of the last living veterans who survived the Pearl Harbor attacks. But, his age isn’t stopping him from celebrating his 105th birthday alongside other veterans at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
On December 7, 1945, Private First Class Eskenazi was at the Schofield Barracks where on that day, he was driving a bulldozer across an open field. Despite being nearly hit multiple times by Japanese planes, Eskenazi lived to tell the story multiple times — even now to his young great-grandchildren.
On Wednesday, Private First Class Eskenazi arrived in NOLA from Los Angeles with six other veterans as part of the Soaring Valor Program. The program is sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation, who is known for his work as Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump, along with his huge love for veterans.
As a Private First Class in the US Army, Eskenazi was at Schofield Barracks on December 7, 1941, and drove a bulldozer across an open field while being strafed and nearly hit by Japanese planes as he began to repair the train tracks to prepare defenses for the expected invasion of Hawaii.
“It’s really quite an honor to be with [veterans] because they served their country very well. You’ve heard the stories and I was part of it,” Eskenazi told WGNO.
The veteran will celebrate his birthday on January 30.