America’s Oldest WW2 Veteran Celebrates His 110th Birthday


Lawrence Brooks, the oldest living American veteran of World War II, recently celebrated his 110th birthday with a fabulous party organized by the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

Brooks, a resident of Louisiana, was born on the 12th September 1909 and served his country from 1940 to 1945. He was a member of the 91st Engineer Battalion, a predominantly African American outfit, that operated in New Guinea and later in the Philippines.

Brooks was the batman to several officers, and his duties included caring for their bedding, clothes, and shoes. He attained the rank of Private 1st Class by the end of the war.

The National WWII Museum has helped brooks celebrate his birthday for the past five years. Each year they organize a party, and this year was no exception.

He was feted at a big birthday bash, where he was showered with kisses and a trio of lovely ladies called The Victory Belles that sang happy birthday to him. He later told a newspaper interview that he thought The Victory Belles were beautiful and that they were “sweet girls.”

The museum staff presented him with a dog tag honoring him as the oldest American WWII veteran.

Brooks may be blind in his right eye, and his vision may be failing in his left, but he still has a zest for life and said that he thoroughly enjoyed the party and loved all the attention that he receives.

He was showered with kisses, and a bright red lipstick kiss adorned his cheek for most of the party.

This remarkable centenarian has excellent hearing and has never suffered from a life-threatening disease such as cancer nor has he ever suffered heart problems. His daughter, Vanessa Brooks, said that the only issues that he suffered from are low blood pressure and dehydration.

Vanessa told reporters that her dad slept longer than he used to, and he does suffer some pain in his hip, but this does not stop him eating, going out, and meeting people.

Brooks and his second wife Leona were evacuated by helicopter when, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina threatened their home, and sadly, Leona passed away shortly after that.

Brooks daughter, Vanessa, will be getting married in December and he has already said that he will be walking her down the aisle, with the assistance of “his third leg” – the nickname he has given to his walker.

Peter Crean, the vice president of the National WWII Museum, said that they love Mr. Brooks and they had told him that as long as he keeps having birthdays, they will continue hosting a party in his honor.  The museum considers Lawrence as their veteran.

Mr. Brooks said that he has started to consider that he may not have very many birthdays left, but it does not concern him as he is thankful for the fact that God has let him live this long. He attributes his long life to the fact that he likes people so much.

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Lawrence Brooks inherited his title when Richard Overton of Texas, died in December at the age of 112. The only World War II veteran, older than Lawrence is Gustav Gerneth, a German national who is aged 113. Mr. Gerneth was a Russian prisoner of war.

Mr. Brooks was pleased to be recognized as the oldest American veteran and said it made him feel good!

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE