Military Connection: A Very Special Birthday Today


By Debbie Gregory.

Happy birthday to the oldest verified surviving American World War II veteran. Today, Richard Arvine Overton celebrates his 109th birthday

Overton was born May 11, 1906, and like most Americans, he answered his country’s call to service during World War II. He served in the South Pacific from 1942 through 1945, including stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima.  Sergeant Overton left the U.S. Army in October 1945.

Following his military service, Overton worked at local furniture stores before taking a position with the Texas Department of the Treasury in Austin. He was married twice, but never had children.

He still drives, maintains his yard, drinks whiskey and smokes cigars. In 2013, Overton was invited to the White House, where he met President Obama during an honor flight trip. He told the President “I smoke at least 12 Tampa Sweet cigars a day.” While he is a fan of cigars and whiskey, he only partakes of the whiskey occasionally now.

The spry centenarian celebrates his birthday every year in his yard, but this year was extra special. His neighbors organized a party with the theme: Mighty Fine at 109. The celebration included Mighty Fine burgers, shakes, a visit from Austin’s Mayor and of course, whiskey.

Overton doesn’t really have an explanation as to why he has been blessed with such a long life, except to say that he takes aspirin daily, and lives a relatively stress-free life since he left the military. “I got good health,” he said. “I also stay busy around the yards, I trim trees, help with the horses. The driveways get dirty, so I clean them. I do something to keep myself moving. I don’t watch television.”

He added, “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. I can talk about what he’s doing for me.”

Needless to say, this Veteran is well loved by his friends, family and neighbors.

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Military Connection: A Very Special Birthday Today: By Debbie Gregory