Jake Larson stormed the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1945.
Believed to be the only living survivor from his unit he is now returning to the famed beach to attend the 75th annual commemoration of D-Day.
Larson. 96, who lives in Martinez, California, wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make the trip after the Army turned down a request from his son to sponsor it. That's when Larson’s friends jumped in to help turn his dream of making the trip a reality.
“He was devastated to find out that the Army will not sponsor him due to the fact all of his military records were destroyed in a fire in 1970,” wrote family friend Linda Linnell who set up a GoFundme page to finance the trip.
Thanks to the generosity of both his friends and people he doesn’t know, more than $10,250 was raised to send Larson and his son to France this summer.
"I love 'em," Larson told NBC Bay Area. "You guys are all my family. I'm so proud of everyone. It chokes me up."
For his service during the war, Larson received a Bronze Star. He also received Legion of Honor, the most prestigious decoration awarded in France.