Country’s earliest military veteran dead at 112|Fox News

America’s earliest veteran, Richard Overton– who served in the Army throughout The Second World War and credited God, bourbon and cigars for his longevity– passed away Thursday in Texas at the age of 112. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

America’s earliest veteran, Richard Overton, who served in the Army throughout World War II and credited God, whiskey and stogies for his remarkable durability, died Thursday in Texas at the age of 112, reports state.

He had actually been hospitalized for the last week with pneumonia, his household stated.

Shirley Overton, whose husband was Richard’s cousin, said the vet died Thursday evening at a rehabilitation center in Austin.

Overton, who was likewise believed to be the oldest living American, was born in 1906 in Bastrop County, just outside Austin, Texas.

Overton remained in his 30s when he volunteered for the Army, and was at Pearl Harbor just after the Japanese surprise attack in 1941.

The WWII veteran served in the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion from 1942 to 1945, a duration that included drop in Angaur, Palau; Peleliu, Micronesia; and Iwo Jima, Japan.

On Veterans Day in 2013, as FOX 7 Austin reported, former President Barack Obama honored Overton in front of thousands in the nation’s capital. “His service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he should have in the house. However this veteran held his head high,” Obama stated.

Overton, in later years, might typically be seen on the porch of his home, which he developed in East Austin in 1945.

“He resembles a gift to Austin that keeps offering,” Overton’s friend Steve Wiener said last summer. “He’s a crackerjack. When individuals sense his humor and playfulness, it just lightens everybody’s step.”

His favorite activity was smoking his 12 day-to-day cigars on his front porch, which good friends dubbed his “phase.”

He had actually resided on his street because returning from war. That street was named in his honor for his 111th birthday last year.

He was grateful to be the nation’s oldest veteran. And he provided this wry guidance for living a long life: “Keep living, do not pass away.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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