World War II veteran speaks to Village Rotary
Last updated 12/17/2009 at Noon
FALLBROOK – On December 8, the Fallbrook Village Rotary Club welcomed guest speaker Jack Eskin, a World War II veteran.
Eskin, originally from Brooklyn, NY, talked his mother into taking him to the Navy recruiting station on his 17th birthday. He said he “thought he was getting into the Sea Scouts, but it was the regular Navy.” During his training period, Eskin contracted scarlet fever and recovered, but was left with some rheumatism.
He was given the opportunity to be discharged, but Eskin declined saying he wished to become an aircraft tower operator. The Navy sent him for training as an aviation radio man and he was trained in Florida to fire a 50-caliber machine gun from an airplane as well as to be a radio man.
Eskin talked about the experiences his friends had in the Torpedo 8 Squadron, based on the carrier York Town. The Torpedo 8 Squadron was shot down by the Japanese, and only one survivor escaped with his life.
Eskin had been assigned as an gunner/radio man for an observation plane. His aircraft was assigned to the battleship South Dakota. This type of plane was launched from a catapult. Eskin’s first taste of action was the battle of Santa Cruz.
The South Dakota had just been provided with proximity fused antiaircraft shells, and it was able to shoot down 32 enemy air craft. The South Dakota suffered some damage, and had to be taken back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Eskin described the tremendous welcome they got upon their entrance to Pearl Harbor.
Since leaving the service, Eskin has been in business and very active in veterans groups. “This was a great program from a very humble man,” said Steve Achard, Village Rotary president.