America’s oldest World War II veteran has died at age 112. As reported by Today, Richard Overton was a sharpshooter in the U.S. Army in the early 1940s. He voluntarily enlisted in the Army to serve the United States and protect its citizens during World War II.
Overton has received praise for his service during World War II. Just a few years ago, he met with President Obama at the White House to receive honors for his service. According to Wikipedia, Overton first enlisted in the Army on Sept. 30, 1940 at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. After enlisting, he was stationed at Pearl Harbor, where he saw firsthand the effects of war during the Japanese sneak attack. After leaving Pearl Harbor, he later participated in operations in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima. Overton left the Army in 1945 after serving five years, many of which exposed him to direct combat.
“With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honored to have known him,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, adding that Overton “made us proud to be Texans and proud to be Americans. We can never repay Richard Overton for his service to our nation and for his lasting impact on the Lone Star State.”
Although news of his passing comes with sadness, Overton has lived an amazing life. And the fact that he lived for 112 years is pretty impressive to say the least. Not only was he the oldest World War II veteran in the United States, but he was also the oldest man in the United States. What was Overton’s secret to longevity? Enjoying life. Reports show that he smoked about a dozen cigars a day and also ate peanut butter ice cream.
As you may know, World War II began on Sept. 1, 1939 and lasted until Sept. 2, 1945. However, you might be surprised to learn that more than 16 million Americans served during World War II, either in the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 372 World War II veterans die each day in the United States. Therefore, it’s important that we, as a society, honor and respect our nation’s World War II veterans.
Overton’s service in the Army hasn’t gone unnoticed. Even after his passing, he’ll long be remembered as a true American hero who helped change the course of history for the better.