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America's oldest World War II veteran is turning 109, and he still smokes 12 cigars a day

America's oldest-living veteran is on the cusp of turning 109 years old, and he still smokes 12 cigars a day.


Richard Overton, an Army veteran of World War II now living in Austin, Texas, still enjoys his whiskey too.

Although Overton does not turn 109 until May 11, his Austin neighborhood threw him an early birthday party on May 3, consisting of burgers, milkshakes, and of course cigars.

"I smoke at least 12 Tampa Sweet cigars a day," Overton told The Wall Street Journal.

"I've been smoking cigars since I was 18 years old," he added to ABC. "I have over $100 worth of cigars now."

A celebrity in his own right, Overton had a long line of well-wishers attend his "Mighty Fine at 109"-themed celebration. Among the guests was the mayor of Austin, Steve Adler.

"You are just one of the treasures that we have in this city," Adler told Overton during the celebrations.

Born May 11, 1906, Overton is believed to be the oldest-living veteran, although it is impossible to verify because not all veterans are registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He served in the South Pacific during the war before selling furniture in Austin after his discharge and later working in the state Treasurer's Office, according to The Chronicle.

"I've gotten so many letters and so many thank yous and I enjoy every bit of it, but I'm still going to enjoy some more," Overton told The Chronicle.

The Houston Chronicle described Overton's lifestyle in November 2013: "He drives and walks without a cane. During a television interview in March, he told a reporter that he doesn't take medicine, smokes cigars every day and takes whiskey in his morning coffee. The key to living to his age, he said, is simply 'staying out of trouble.'"

"I may drink a little in the evening too with some soda water, but that's it," Overton told Fox News. "Whiskey's a good medicine. It keeps your muscles tender."

Overton admits that he doesn't truly know what to credit with his long life. "You have to ask God about that. He brought me here and he's taking care of me, and nothing I can do about it," Overton told the Post.

However, his neighbors have a few ideas of their own as to how Overton keeps chugging along.

"Whiskey and cigars and never stop moving," a neighbor told Fox affiliate KTBC.

In addition to his somewhat unorthodox habits, Overton stays busy throughout the day — trimming trees, helping with horses, and never watches television, according to Fox.

Paul Szoldra contributed to this report. 

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This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

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