America's oldest WWII veteran lived to 112 - We Are The Mighty
Mighty Moments

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

The oldest veteran in American history lived until 112, and he smoked 12 cigars a day that entire time.


Richard Overton, an Army veteran of World War II enjoyed whiskey for much of his later years, which he spent in Austin, Texas.

When Overton turned 109 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 was most likely the longest-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 admitted that he didn’t truly know what to credit for 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 had a few ideas of their own as to how Overton kept chugging along.

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

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

Paul Szoldra contributed to this report. 

More from Business Insider:

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

Articles

Cpl. Kyle Carpenter jumped on a grenade and saved his best friend’s life

On Nov. 21, 2010 while providing security on a rooftop in Afghanistan, then-Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter jumped on a grenade to save his best friend’s life, an action he later received the Medal of Honor for.


“I only remember a few moments after I got hit,” Carpenter told me previously when I interviewed him for Business Insider. “But nothing before.”

The scene was near Marjah, with Carpenter and his squad — supported by engineers, an interpreter, and Afghan National Army troops — moved south of their main base to establish a small outpost to wrestle control of the area from the Taliban. It was Nov. 19, 2010, and as Carpenter told me, they were guaranteed to take enemy fire.

That “contact” came one day later, when their small patrol base came under blistering attack from small arms, sniper fire, rockets, and grenades. Two Marines were injured and evacuated. “The rest of the day it was sporadic but still constant enemy [AK-47] fire on our post that was on top of the roof,” he said.

While the Marines took sporadic fire while setting up their new base over the next two days, it was on Nov. 21 that Carpenter would distinguish himself with his heroism.

“Enemy forces had maneuvered in close through the use of the walls of the compound across the street to the east,” according to Carpenter’s summary of action. The Taliban threw three grenades into the compound.

One landed in the center of the base, injuring an Afghan soldier. The second harmlessly detonated near the post that was destroyed the previous day. The last landed on the roof, dangerously close to him and his friend, Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio. He didn’t remember actually jumping on the grenade, but multiple eyewitnesses and forensics showed that was exactly what happened.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

“The majority of the grenade blast was deflected down rather than up, causing a cone-shaped hole to be blown down through the ceiling of the command operations center,” the summary reads.

Carpenter was severely wounded, with injuries to his face, jaw, and upper and lower extremities. Eufrazio received shrapnel to the head. Both were immediately evacuated and survived. Eufrazio is still recovering from the attack, while Carpenter has bounced back from his devastating wounds in a fashion that’s nothing short of remarkable.

He received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, on Jun. 19, 2014.

“I mean I would grab that [grenade] and kick it right back,” Carpenter told me half-jokingly, when I asked if he had any regrets. “But besides that … I wouldn’t change anything. We’re both alive and we’re here and I’m fully appreciating my second chance.”

Here’s his full citation, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps:

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

Articles

Aaron Rodgers surprises four kids whose dads died while serving in the military

Four kids got an awesome surprise from NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers they’ll never forget.


The Packers all-star teamed up with Camp Hometown Heroes for a day on a boat with kids whose dads died while serving in the military.

Also Read: Here’s How A Combat Wounded Veteran Got His Dream Shot At College Football

“My dad’s name is Chad J. Simon, he was a staff sergeant, and I can’t say I can remember anything about him, I just wonder if he was the one who taught me how to tie my shoes,” said Dylan, who lost his father when he was too young to remember. Also on the boat were three sisters, Alexis, Starr and Kylee, who lost their dad, Spc. Grant Dampier.

Camp Hometown Heroes is a non-profit organization dedicated to counseling kids ages 7 through 17 who’ve lost loved ones while serving in the military. According to Dylan, the week-long camp is raising money to spread the organization to other locations where it can continue to serve kids for free.

itsaaroncom, YouTube

Mighty Moments

NFL Falcon is sending military widow and son to the Super Bowl

Atlanta Falcon offensive lineman Ben Garland knows the meaning of service, but he took the NFL’s Salute to Service program to the next level.


Each year for Veteran’s Day, the NFL pays tribute to our nation’s servicemembers in a number of ways, but one of the most meaningful is during November’s Salute to Service. Players wear the initials of the fallen on their uniforms, the NFL donates money to non-profit organizations like the Pat Tillman Foundation or TAPS, and military families are invited to meet their favorite teams and experience some VIP fun.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
3 year-old Cooper Dean with his new BFF, Ben Garland. (Image via TAPS)

A captain in the Colorado Air National Guard, the Veteran’s Day events are particularly meaningful to Garland. In 2017, he wore the initials of Air Force veteran Robert Dean, who took his own life in June 2016. At the game, Garland met Dean’s wife, Katie, and their 3 year-old son, Cooper, and the meeting left a lasting impression on him.

Related: Here’s how the Atlanta Falcons honored fallen heroes

On Dec. 11, Garland was honored for his community service with his team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and he decided to invite Katie and Cooper as his guests — what they didn’t know was that he had a big surprise in store for them.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Ben Garland surprises military widow Katie Dean and her son, Cooper, with Super Bowl tickets. (Image via TAPS)

When accepting his award, Garland invited them onstage and presented them with tickets to the 2018 Super Bowl.

“No matter what I’m doing, I give my full effort to that,” said Garland in an interview with CNN.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
3 year-old Cooper Dean wears a helmet with his father’s initials, borrowed from Atlanta Falcon Ben Garland. (Image via TAPS)

Whether in the military, on the field, or helping others, it’s clear Garland lives by the Air Force Core Value of “Service Before Self.” From visiting cancer patients in hospitals, to fighting human trafficking with SōDE Solution, to helping families like the Deans, Garland proves how impactful service after service can be.

“This incredible connection with Ben Garland and the Dean family is just extraordinary and means so much to Katie and Cooper,” said Diana Hosford, vice president of sports and entertainment at TAPS. “Ben being in the Air Force just like their fallen hero and also being so kind, caring and thoughtful just like the man they loved and lost, makes this bond even stronger.”
Mighty Moments

Legendary paratrooper, WWII and Vietnam vet ‘Rock’ Merritt dead at 97

The shoulder sleeve insignia of the 82nd Airborne Division is two As for their nickname All-American. Command Sgt. Major Kenneth ‘Rock’ Merritt was that and more. He served in the Army for 35 years and saw heavy combat during WWII and the Vietnam War.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Merritt as a Corporal during WWII (U.S. Army)

Merritt was born in Oklahoma in 1923. At the age of 17, he began his service in the Civilian Conservation Corps to help support his family. However, he was discharged following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He supported the war effort helping to construct Camp Gruber in Oklahoma and Camp Hale in Colorado, and worked at a naval shipyard in California.

Looking to get on the frontlines, Merritt went to enlist in the Marine Corps. However, while he was waiting to speak with a Marine recruiter, an Army poster caught his attention. It depicted a soldier descending under a parachute and holding a machine gun. The poster’s caption asked, “Are you man enough to fill these boots?” That was all the motivation Merritt needed to become a paratrooper.

Merritt enlisted in the Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on October 15, 1942 at the age of 19. Five days later, he was sent to Camp Blanding, Florida to join the newly formed 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. He attended paratrooper school at Fort Benning, Georgia in February 1943. After earning his silver wings, Merritt and the rest of the 508th shipped out to the war in Europe.

Merritt jumped into Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He earned a Silver Star for disabling a German machine gun nest at Hill 131 near La Cuiroterie on July 3, 1944. The medal was presented to him by General Matthew Ridgway. Merritt went on to fight during Operation Market Garden and the Battle of Bulge, after which he went home on leave. He returned to Europe just a few days before the German surrender.

kenneth rock merritt
Merritt as Command Sergeant Major of the XVIII Airborne Corps (U.S. Army)

Merritt continued to serve in the Army and rose to the rank of Sergeant Major and was nominated for Command Sgt. Major positions in 1963, 1970, and 1973. Army regulations normally force soldiers to retire after 30 years of service. However, Merritt was one of five Command Sergeants Major allowed to serve an additional five years beyond this mandate. He is also the only soldier to serve two tours as the Command Sergeant Major of the XVIII Airborne Corps.

By the time he retired in 1977, Merritt had built an impressive career. In addition to his Command Sergeant Major positions and Silver Star, he earned a Legion of Merit and three Bronze Stars. He also earned a Master Parachutist with two combat stars. Merritt completed 200 parachute jumps and was awarded a Gold Century Parachute Badge by the Original Airborne Association.

Following his retirement, Merritt remained tied to the Army community. He stayed in Fayetteville, North Carolina and was active with veterans associations like the 508th PIR Association of which he served five terms as President. In 2016, he served as the Grand Marshall for the Fayetteville Veterans Day Parade.

Merritt passed away on March 10, 2021 in his home with his daughter by his side. “We certainly know Rock did his duty here on Earth, not only in WWII and Vietnam, but also in his service to our Soldiers on Fort Bragg,” Fort Bragg and XVIII Airborne Corps said. “For many, his investment in our Soldiers will serve as his legacy. Every change-of-command, every All American Week, every big event, Rock was there. He met every Paratrooper, he shook every Soldier’s hand. He will be deeply missed.”

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
(Fort Bragg and XVIII Airborne Corps)
Intel

This pilot earned his dream shot by tweaking a general

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: US Air Force Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon II


Air Force Capt. Roger Moseley was a test pilot who got on the bad side of base’s vice commander when he told a group of pilots that — in a world of unmanned aircraft and precision guided munitions — only dinosaurs cared about things like flying faster and higher. He was told he’d never test fly again, but the next morning he was called into the middle of the Nevada desert and offered a top-secret job that he had to agree to on the spot. Moseley did and became one of the first pilot to fly the F-117, the stealth fighter that carried the day in the skies over Iraq during Desert Storm.

Hear the full story at NPR.

Now: The Secret Air Force Program That Hid An Even More Secret Program

Articles

The Mighty Taps: 9 Famous Veterans Who Died In 2014

These nine icons and military veterans left us in 2014:

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112


RUSSELL JOHNSON – U.S. Army Air Corps

Russell Johnson was an actor best known for playing “The Professor” on the classic TV series “Gilligan’s Island.” He joined the Army Air Corps in World War II, and earned the Purple Heart when his B-24 Liberator was shot down in the Philippines during a bombing run in March, 1945. After the war, he used the G.I. Bill to enroll in acting school. Johnson was 89 years old when he died on January 16.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

HIROO ONODA – Japanese Imperial Army

Hiroo Onoda was a soldier in the Japanese Imperial Army who fought in World War II and didn’t surrender in 1945. He spent 30 years holding out in the Philippines. He eventually returned to Japan to much popularity and released a ghostwritten autobiography called No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War. Onoda was 91 years old when he died on January 16.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

PETE SEEGER – U.S. Army

Pete Seeger was a folk singer and colleague of the legendary Woody Guthrie. Over the course of his music life, Seeger penned such classic hits a “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” He was drafted in 1942 and spent his tour of duty singing folk songs for soldiers on the front, often playing songs that included anti-war sentiments. He was discharged as a corporal and went back to folk music. His career was infamously short-circuited when he was blacklisted by McCarthyism for his Communists views. Seeger was 94 years old when he died on January 27.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

SID CAESAR – U.S. Coast Guard

Sid Caesar was a legendary comedian who made his name on stage, in films, and in the early days of television. During World War II he served in the Coast Guard as a musician where he was part of the service’s “Tars and Bars” show. When the show’s producer heard him joking with some of the other musicians he was switched from saxophone to comedian, a move that set the course for the rest of his life. Caesar was 91 years old when he died on February 12.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

MICKEY ROONEY – U.S. Army

Mickey Rooney was a beloved childhood actor who made his name at a young age in films and Broadway shows in which he co-starred with Judy Garland. He joined the war effort in 1943 as a member of the U.S Army and spent his 21 month in uniform entertaining the troops and working on the American Armed Forces Network. He is perhaps best known to military audiences for playing a SAR pilot in the film “The Bridges at Toko Ri.” Rooney was 93 years old when he died on April 6.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

EFREM ZIMBALIST, JR. – U.S. Army

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. was a TV star best known for his roles in the series “77 Sunset Strip” and “The FBI.” He later did voice-overs for the “Batman” and “Spider Man” animated series. He served for five years during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds sustained to his leg while fighting the German Army during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. Zimbalist was 95 years old when he died on May 2.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

LOUIS ZAMPERINI – U.S. Army Air Corps

Louis Zamperini’s remarkable life is the subject of two biographies and the film “Unbroken,” directed by Angelina Jolie. In May of 1943, Zamperini was the bombardier on a B-24 Liberator that crashed south of Hawaii due to mechanical difficulties. He was one of three of the 11 crew members to survive the crash and spent 47 days adrift. He was captured by the Japanese and held as a POW until the end of the war under brutal conditions. Zamperini was 95 years old when he died on July 2.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

JAMES GARNER – U.S. Army

James Garner was a TV and film actor best known for his roles in the movies “The Great Escape,” “Space Cowboys,” and “The Notebook” and in the TV series “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files.” He served during the Korean War and was wounded twice – once by an enemy mortar explosion and once by friendly fire from an American jet. He received a Purple Heart for each injury, although he wasn’t awarded the second one until 1983. Garner was 86 years old when he died on July 19.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112

ROBERT GALLAGHER – U.S. Army

Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher was a decorated war hero whose action as a platoon sergeant with Task Force Ranger in Somalia served as the basis for the film “Black Hawk Down.” He also served in Panama during Operation Just Cause and during the second invasion of Iraq. Over the course of his military career, Sgt. Maj. Gallagher received two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars, and a Silver Star. He later called that fateful day in Somalia “the best and worst day of my life.” He was 52 years old when he died on October 14.

Articles

This Warthog pilot will receive the Silver Star 14 years after saving troops in battle

During the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, elements of the 3rd Infantry Division had come under fire from Iraqi forces, including T-72 tanks. That’s when the boots on the ground called for air support.


According to a report by the Air Force Times, two A-10s, one of them flown by Gregory Thornton, responded to the call. During the next 33 minutes, they made a number of close passes.

Thornton came within 1,000 yards of the enemy, using his A-10’s GAU-8 cannon in some cases. Ultimately, he and the other pilot would be credited with killing three T-72s, six other armored vehicles, and a number of other targets.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
A-10 fires its GAU-8 during an exercise at Fort Polk. | US Air Force photo

Fourteen years after that battle, Thornton, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, will receive the Silver Star in a ceremony in July that will be presided over by Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command. The ceremony will take place at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

“This courageous and aggressive attack, while under withering fire and in poor weather, along with Capt. Thornton’s superior flying skills and true attack pilot grit, allowed Task Force 2-69 Armor to cross the Tigris River with minimal combat losses and successfully accomplish their objective of linking up with coalition forces completing the 360-degree encirclement of Baghdad,” the citation that outlined the award reads.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
The A-10 shows off its non-BRRRRRT related talents. | US Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Bob Sommer

Thornton had been assigned to the 75th Fighter Squadron at Pope Field, near Fort Bragg, prior to his retirement. At the time of the incident, Thornton was a captain in the Air Force.

The Air Force is reportedly considering replacements for the A-10. Aircraft involved in what is being called the OA-X program are going to start testing this summer. Meanwhile, efforts are underway to get new wings to prevent the premature retirement of some A-10s.

Lists

The US military took these incredible photos in just one week-long period

The military has very talented photographers in its ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. This is the best of what they shot this week:


AIR FORCE

Two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, fly over Europe on March 20, 2015. The aircraft participate in a training sortie with the Estonian air force.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Senior Airman Christine Griffiths/US Air Force

Leaving a trail of dust in its wake, an MC-130J Commando II takes off April 2, 2015, at Melrose Air Force Range, N.M. The aircraft’s crew demonstrated its capability to take off, land and perform airdrops in remote areas during a joint exercise.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi/US Air Force

NAVY

More than 630 Sailors, Marines and civilians aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) from a teal ribbon and spell out “ESX ARG” to show support for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: US Navy

Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Keron King signals the pilots of an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter attached to the Vipers of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 48 during preflight preparations aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68).

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt/US Navy

ARMY

A Trooper assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, fires a mortar from a mortar tube mounted onto a Stryker Combat Vehicle during the unit’s platoon live-fire exercise at Smardan Training Area, Romania, Apr. 8, 2015. The purpose of the exercise is to demonstrate unit capabilities to Romanian military counterparts during live-fire training in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve-South.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Sgt. William A. Tanner/US Army

Infantrymen, assigned to 2nd Cavalry Regiment, provide security during an #OperationAtlanticResolve-South live-fire exercise at Smardan Training Area, Romania, April 6, 2015.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Sgt. William A. Tanner

MARINE CORPS

U.S. Marines attending the infantry officer course prepare to conduct a fast rope exercise during Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) on Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 27, 2015. WTI is a seven-week event hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) cadre.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves/US Marine Corps

A U.S. Marine with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, completes a pre-inspection before operating the M1A1 Abrams tank during Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) aboard Camp Pendleton, California, March 28, 2015. Marines with BLT 3/1 trained for combined arms operations in restricted terrain in preparation for their deployment this spring.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Sgt. Emmanuel Ramos/US Marine Corps

COAST GUARD

Marine Safety Security Team Honolulu conduct flight ops with crews from Air Station Barber’s Point to ensure U.S. Coast Guard Hawaii Pacific remain Semper Paratus.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Errik Gordon/US Coast Guard

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

NOW: 9 tips for ‘skating’ in the Navy

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OR: Hurry up and watch ‘Predator’ in under 3 minutes:

MIGHTY HISTORY

This forgotten soldier survived 4 months in Dunkirk by himself

In 1940, the evacuation of allied forces from the beaches of Dunkirk commenced as approximately 338,000 troops were loaded into small boats over the course the rescue.


Also known as “Operation Dynamo,” German forces conducted hellish air raids killing the numerous troops that attempted to flee the area.

In the mix of all that chaos was 20-year-old Bill Lacey, a rifleman in the 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Reportedly, Bill had already boarded a relief boat but decided to give up his seat to make room for a wounded man and leaped off the vessel.

Back on land, Bill turned around to see that the boat he had exited from was now well underway — without him.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
The British Army evacuation underway in Dunkirk (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

He quickly located a raft and thought he could use it to rejoin the boat that was sailing off in the distance. As he took hold of it, he realized the raft was useless as it had two bullet holes poked through it.

As gunfire erupted in all directions, Bill witnessed German troops rounding up British stragglers taking them prisoner. Unsure of what the future held, he decided to make a run for it and take his chances surviving on his own.

Headed in the opposite direction as the armed Germans, he maneuvered south, hoping to run into other British troops.

Bill made his way into the woods and traveled deep into the hostile countryside not knowing how he was ever going to make it home.

His mission was to stay out of sight, as German patrols were consistently roaming the area.

He got rid of his issued uniform, hid his weapon, and donned clothes he had stolen from nearby washing lines to help blend into the local population. Bill was forced to drink from streams and eat handfuls of straw dipped in margarine.

“I had to learn to stay alive in the same way a wild animal would,” Bill states in an interview. “My only thought was to survive from one day to the next.”

Since he didn’t speak French, he nodded to locals if they attempted to interact with him. Then, one day after four long months of surviving on scraps, Bill finally saw an opportunity to make it home.

Bill spotted a fishing boat that was tied down to a small pier and began to format a plan in his head. After the sun went down that evening, he carefully made his way to the small vessel, slipped off the moorings, quieting boarded, and steered off toward the English coast.

The forgotten soldier arrived at the shoreline near Dover, England, weak with hunger and clad in ratty clothes. Soon after, he was arrested and transported to an Army base where intelligence officers interrogated him — they didn’t believe his traumatic story.

Luckily, they checked many French newspapers and found articles about a British soldier reportedly on the run who stole food from farmhouses. There was also a report about a fishing boat from the pier that went missing.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Bill Lacey takes a moment for a quick photo op. (Source: Mirror UK)

After proving himself, Bill was recruited into the British special operation division and completed several more years of service — finally retiring in his early fifties.

Sadly, the hero and survival expert passed away at the age of 91, but his Dunkirk legacy will live on forever.

Mighty Moments

British pandemic hero Captain Sir Tom Moore dies at 100, of COVID-19

Sir Tom Moore made headlines during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic by raising money for the National Health Service Charity. On April 6, 2020, at the age of 99, Moore began walks around his garden with the goal of raising £1,000 in donations by his hundredth birthday on April 30. For his efforts, Moore made numerous media appearances and became a household name around the world. By the end of his 24-day campaign, he had raised over £32.79 million. On January 21, 2021, Moore was admitted to Bedford Hospital after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was treated for pneumonia. Sadly, he died on February 2, 2021.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Tom More c. 1940 (British Army)

In May 1940, eight months after the outbreak of WWII, Moore was conscripted into the 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in Cornwall. He was selected for officer training and earned a commission as a 2nd Lt. on June 28, 1941. Afterwards, he was transferred to the Regiment’s 9th Battalion in India. Moore was an avid motorcyclist, having bought his first motorbike when he was just 12. He employed his passion and knowledge for bikes by establishing and running an army program to train motorcyclists. In recognition of his efforts, Moore was promoted to war-substantive Lt. on October 1, 1942 and then to temporary Capt. on October 11, 1944.

Moore went on to serve in western Burma (now Myanmar) during the war where he survived a bout of dengue fever. He returned to the UK in February 1945. As part of the Royal Armoured Corps, Moore spent the remainder of the war learning and instructing on the maintenance of Churchill tanks. He served as the Technical Adjutant of the Armoured Vehicle Fighting School in Bovington Camp, Dorset until he was demobilized in early 1946.

After the army, Moore put his leadership skills to use in a variety of managerial positions. He also continued his passion for motorcycles and raced competitively. Riding a Scott motorcycle, Moore won several trophies during his competitive career.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Sir Tom Moore is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II (The Royal Family)

Moore’s walking goal in support of the NHS Charity was to complete one hundred 25-meter lengths of his garden. “I do [laps] each day, so that eventually I’ll get to 100, then after that I shall continue and do some more,” he told the BBC. With an honor guard from the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment watching over him from a safe distance, Moore reached his hundred lap goal on the morning of April 16, 2020 and said that he aimed to do another hundred.

On April 23, Moore was given the Pride of Britain award in recognition of his efforts. He was also made the first Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, Yorkshire on his 100th birthday. Moore received honorary doctoral degrees from Cranfield University and the University of Bradford. The England National Football Team’s Lionhearts squad made Moore an honorary member and captain, an honor presented to him by David Beckham. On July 17, Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

With Sir Tom Moore’s passing, Britain has seen an outpouring of tributes to the pandemic hero. Buckingham Palace issued a statement that read, “The Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Sir Tom Moore. Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Captain Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year. Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised Moore for his military service and fundraising efforts and announced that the flag above 10 Downing Street would be flown at half-mast as a sign of respect.

Perhaps Moore’s greatest legacy is his spirit of persistence and optimism that so defines the British people, often referred to as the Blitz spirit. “Let’s all carry on and remember that things will get better,” he said. “We have had problems before—we have overcome them—and we shall all overcome the same thing again.”

Articles

9 ways to give Vietnam vets the welcome home they never received

The non-profit Vietnam Veterans of America was founded on the motto: “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”


The group is passionate about supporting their own because after they came home from fighting a war their country sent them to fight, they were largely unsupported and even treated with hostility.

Vietnam vets don’t need to hear “thank you for your service” as much as, “welcome home.” So whether you know someone who served in southeast Asia or happen to pass one on your way to work, here are 9 actions you can take to give them the welcome home they never received:

1. Listen to them and learn their stories

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp1AKwf1YB8

Taking the time to learn and understand the experiences a veteran goes through helps you to understand them and appreciate their sacrifices on much more personal level.

2. Write them a letter

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Guudmorning!/flickr

Giving a letter to a Vietnam veteran expressing your appreciation and support of what they sacrificed is something they can read on their own time and keep as a reminder that America ultimately cares about their era of service.

3. Give them a surprise welcome back

For extra effect,  do this on the anniversary of the day they returned home from the war. Check around at local veteran organizations; you may be able to be part of a larger homecoming celebration, like the one in this video.

4. Perform community service together

Having an experience of serving together, no matter how small, is a shared experience you will both appreciate.

5. Organize a reunion for them

This may take a lot of planning, but coordinating an event that brings together Vietnam veterans who served together is going above and beyond showing how much you appreciate their service.

6. Organize their photos / records / awards into a scrapbook or shadowbox

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Evert Barnes/flickr

Many vets have their memories in boxes or in storage somewhere. Ask to take them and display them so they will not be damaged but also displayed in an honorable way.

7. Give thanks by really helping them out

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/InSapphoWeTrust

Ask if there is are any errands and chores you can do or to get to know them more, or see if there is anywhere you can go (museum, hike, etc.).

8. Have a memorial for the fallen

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: TimothyJ / flickr

By visiting a memorial with them or having one of your own together, show them you honor the fallen and will never forget them.

9. Invite them to speak at a school class or social function

Having a veteran speak in a history class or at a social community event is a great way to educate the younger generation and your community about the services and sacrifices service members make.

To all Vietnam veterans, welcome home from WATM.

SEE ALSO: Here’s how Hollywood legend Dale Dye earned the Bronze Star for heroism in Vietnam

Articles

Team Rubicon is on the ground in Nepal

Team Rubicon, a non-government organization made up of military veterans and first responders, rapidly deploys skilled personnel to emergency areas after disasters. After the earthquake in Nepal, Team Rubicon sent folks who have made a difference on the ground executing what they’ve called Operation Tenzing Nepal.


America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Team Rubicon

The team members have deployed to very remote areas, so knowing what to put in the pack-up is crucial.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Team Rubicon

Veterans with the appropriate skills set up medical aid stations to help those affected by the quake. After major disasters, the spread of disease can be accelerated due to contaminated water and a loss of basic services.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Team Rubicon

Keeping track of care can be a challenge in the chaotic, high patient volume environment that follows a disaster.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Team Rubicon

Many patients have multiple injuries, each of which requires treatment and follow-up. Teams stationed in a village do their best to make sure injuries don’t become worse.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon works with local and foreign governments while conducting their operations. And since many members are veterans, they are able to interact with militaries more easily than some NGOs.

America’s oldest WWII veteran lived to 112
Photo: Team Rubicon

Reconnaissance in remote areas can be challenging, especially after existing infrastructure is damaged by an earthquake. Drones allow foreign responders like Team Rubicon, as well as local forces, to respond more efficiently.

Team Rubicon is collecting donations to support of Operation Tenzing Nepal on their website. Also, military veterans or civilians with skills as first responders can volunteer with Team Rubicon for future operations. Teams serve one of 10 regional areas in the United States or deploy internationally.

MORE: This Green Beret’s heroism was so incredible that Ronald Reagan said it was hard to believe

AND: New report shows vets more civic-minded than non-vets

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