Happy 112th Birthday Richard Overton – America’s Oldest WWII Veteran

Happy 112th Birthday Richard Overton – America’s Oldest WWII Veteran

Happy 112th Birthday Richard Overton – America’s Oldest WWII Veteran

By Debbie Gregory.

At 112 years old, Richard Overton is the country’s oldest living veteran.

He was born on May 11, 1906 in Bastrop County, Texas. In 1942, he volunteered for military service after the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Overton is a Veteran of Iwo Jima, and also spent time in Hawaii, Guam and Palau. He left the Army in October, 1945, after the unconditional surrender by the Japanese.

Overton served as a member of the Army’s 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion.  

After the war, Overton returned to Texas, where he briefly sold furniture, before going to work in the state’s Treasurer’s Office.

Overton lives in East Austin, in a house that he built himself. He has been a bit of a celebrity in the Veteran Community, heralded as being the oldest Vet in the nation.

Overton revealed that his secret to living so long is a moderate daily dose of whiskey and cigars. He admits to a spoonful of whiskey in his morning coffee, and puffing (but not inhaling) cigars, as a part of his regular regiment. But he admits that he mostly credits his longevity to keeping out of trouble.

Overton made it through the battle of Iwo Jima, one of the most horrific battles of all time, and then survived the rest of the war. It would be safe to assume that he had seen enough trouble in his life time to be able to recognize it, and be allowed to stay away from it.

Overton recently flew in a private jet to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, where he received a private tour and met former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

His 112th birthday bash was hosted by Austin hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm and featured music by DJ Kay Cali.

So here’s to Richard Overton and his great ability to endure as a soldier, as a person, and as an inspiration.


Nation’s Oldest Veteran Celebrates Number 110


By Debbie Gregory.

Happy birthday to the oldest verified surviving American World War II veteran. On May 11th, 2016, Richard Arvine Overton celebrated his 110th 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.

Over the last few months, Overton has had to give up a few things, such as driving his truck, and he has cut down on drinking whiskey. But he is still chomping on 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.”

The spry centenarian celebrates his birthday every year in his yard, and this year was no exception, as Overton was surrounded by family, friends and admirers

With the exception of a bad bout of pneumonia late last year, he has been relatively healthy.

Overton doesn’t really have an explanation as to why he has been blessed with such a 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. I can talk about what he’s doing for me.”

Needless to say, this Veteran is well loved by his friends, family and neighbors. When asked how it felt to be 110, Overton said he felt like he was 50.

“He considers himself our neighborhood watchdog, and he knows everything that’s going on,” neighbor Helen Elliott said. “I don’t think the neighborhood would be what it is without him. He’s our legend, our icon.”

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