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  • Pacific Island Times Staff

Oldest US World War II vet served on Guam, Palau, Iwo Jima

Richard Arvin Overton passes away at 112, the oldest man in U.S.

Up to the end, Richard Overton was still enjoying cigars, a little whiskey daily and still driving his vintage Ford pickup at his home in Austin, Texas.

Born May 11, 1906, Overton passed away on Dec. 27, 2018 at at age 112. He was the oldest verified surviving U.S. World War II veteran and oldest man in the United States. He served in the U.S. Army.

He served in the South Pacific from 1940 through 1945, including stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima. He left the U.S. Army in October 1945 as a technician fifth grade. Overton worked at local furniture stores before taking a position with the Texas Department of the Treasury (now part of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts) in Austin. He was married twice but never had children.

Both his service during the war and remarkable longevity led to considerable recognition. Overton gained media attention during the 2013 Memorial Day weekend when he told Fox News he would spend his Memorial Day "smoking cigars and drinking whiskey-stiffened coffee."

On that same Memorial Day, Overton met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Overton was also invited to the White House where he met with President Barack Obama, and to the Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was singled out by name for praise by the president.

During an NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies on March 24, 2017, Overton was honored during a half-time break.

Overton is the subject of a 2016 documentary, Mr. Overton, in which he is interviewed about his daily routine, thoughts on his longevity, and his military service. On May 3, 2016, he became the oldest surviving American veteran after the death of Frank Levingston.


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