World War II veteran celebrated 99th birthday with a drive-by celebration

Not every World War II hero carried a gun. In the case of Ventura World War II veteran Jack. D. Schulz, his battlefront was IBM’s newfangled “tabulation machine” that was then considered cutting-edge warfare technology.

The veteran who helped win the war with his prowess on the keyboard celebrated his 99th birthday on Saturday, January 16 , with a drive-by parade that included the Ventura City Police and Fire Departments.

The drive-by celebration was held at the Turning Point Foundation’s Veterans Transitional Housing Program at 43 East Vince Street in Ventura.

Schulz was born in Michigan in 1922, when Prohibition was sweeping across the nation and President Warren G. Harding gave his first radio address. Schulz lived through the Great Depression and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944, at the age of 22.

When Army officials learned Schulz could type an accurate 40 words per minute on an Underwood manual typewriter, they put him to work on a machine IBM had invented that was a lot like today’s laptop computer when compared to the unwieldy wall-to-wall computers of 1944.

Schulz was stationed in California where he learned to input data with this new technology, which was designed to support the troops overseas. At the end of the war, Schulz was honorably discharged as a Tech-5 specialist and was awarded an Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal.

Schulz remained in sunny Southern California and convinced his mother and grandmother to relocate with him from Michigan and its frigid winters to the seaside city of Port Hueneme. He enrolled in the University of Southern California (USC) on the GI Bill and earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Work was hard to come by after the war, but Schulz landed a position doing deliveries while also caring for his grandmother and later, his mother.

Still, Schulz found time to be a community volunteer for 14 years. He married, but his wife passed away in 2017. They had no children, and Schulz said a lawyer who handled his estate took all of his assets, leaving him with nothing but a van, forcing him to start all over.

Schulz lived homeless in his van for two years until 2019, when he was referred to Ventura County Veteran’s Services and then to the Turning Point Foundation. Schulz’s full story has been archived in Washington, D.C. through the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

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