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WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — Sixteen million Americans served in World War II, and few are still alive.

So when a World War II veteran has a milestone birthday, it’s a very special occasion.

On Tuesday, Southwestern Healthcare Center retirement community in West Mifflin held a birthday party for John Hazy. He is turning 100-years-old.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Paul Spradley)

John was a tail gunner during the war, and was shot down during his fourth mission. German soldiers took him as a POW.

John was rescued by United States soldiers at the end of the war.

He spent the next 30 years in the Air Force.

“I’m happy to be alive and happy to be with all of these people,” said John. “I went through hell or high water, but I got there.”

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

After retirement, John spent a lot of time on the golf course. He now loves watching the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins.

Happy birthday, John!