IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — A World War II Navy veteran celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday, with military officers and JROTC Color Guard honoring him for his service.
John Larson, an Imperial Beach resident who served in the U.S. Navy for almost 30 years, was presented the colors at his Imperial Beach home by 20 cadets and students from Mar Vista High School.
As it was a birthday celebration, those present also sang a rousing “Happy Birthday” to Larson.
“I feel real good,” he told FOX 5. “I knew some were coming, so I got up early. It’s real nice to have family.”
Larson joined the U.S. Navy in 1941, working as a mechanic on patrol bomber aircrafts in the Pacific throughout World War II, according to his grandson John Larson III.
By the time he retired from the USS Constellation aircraft carrier in 1968, he had risen through the ranks to chief aircraft mechanic. He continued his work as a mechanic on North Island after he retired.
Larson is also the father of four, with grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. His son, John Larson II, followed in the military footsteps of his father, joining the U.S. Army.
The now-100-year-old walks a mile everyday, his grandson said, and remains self-sufficient. He can also enjoys 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles and is able to complete one in a matter of days.
“He’s an excellent, excellent person. We all love him to death,” his daughter-in-law told FOX 5. “He has always been there for us and now, we try to be there for him.”