first published on December 28, 2018 by Will
America’s oldest man and oldest war veteran, Richard Overton, died in Austin on Thursday at the age of 112.
In the week leading up to his death, Overton had been hospitalized and treated for pneumonia.
Overton had become both a local and internet celebrity as he laughed in the face of time year-after-year, smoking cigars and drinking whiskey on his front porch.
Those that knew him personally were constantly amazed by his vigor at such a late stage in life. He reportedly continued to drive until he was 107.
Overton enlisted in the Army in 1942, nine months after the Pearl Harbor attack. He served in the Pacific Theater in places like Guam, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima. He was part of a racially segregated unit.
In 2013 he recounted his combat service, stating that he had landed on more beaches under fire than he could remember … ducking bullets in foxholes and clearing bodies from fields of battle.
The following video from 2013 shows a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in which Overton is given special acknowledgment by President Obama.