2 WWII Vets Meet In Texas Aged 107

2 WWII Vets Meet In Texas Aged 107

On Dec. 13, 2013, Overton, from Austin Texas and Hill, from Henderson, Texas, attended a proclamation presented by Austin Texas Mayor Lee Leffingwell who thanked both men for their service.

When he first saw his fellow veteran, Hill suggested changing the date of his birthday as he found out that Richard Overton was three months older than him; one thing you don’t see too often at their age.

“He’s 107? Well, I better move mine up a little bit!”, said Hill.

The two Texans, who both fought in the Second World War Pacific Theatre, met each other in Austin, where they had lunch and shared memories, honored by Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

According to Mr Leffingwell, the two men are the oldest known veterans in the United States. Richard Overton grew up in Austin, where he still lives today and is a former courier who also worked at a furniture store, the Trib Live reports.

Elmer Hill, who lives in Henderson, East Texas, is a former high school principal. He had to be driven 240 miles to Austin, to be able to attend the event, which was organized by Emeritus Senior Living.

The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t have a list of all American servicemen of World War Two and they can’t exactly say for sure if the two men are the oldest living veterans of the United States. However, when Overton attended Veterans Day in Washington this year, he was personally recognized by American President Barack Obama.

While he was waiting for Hill’s car, Overton joked that he wished his fellow vet was bringing some whiskey with him.

Hill talked about being enlisted into the armed forces in 1942, where he served in the Navy and was a cook and a gunner on an aircraft carrier. “I didn’t volunteer. They put me in there,” said Hill.

Overton volunteered when he was in his 30s and served in the Army’s 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion. Born May 11, 1906, he used to watch soldiers preparing for the First World War. He recalled seeing thousands of men arriving at Austin after they walked over 90 miles from San Antonio, because the trains were too crowded. Later on, he became a soldier himself. He also arrived at Pearl Harbor shortly after the Japanese attack. He insisted that he should ask Hill some questions about the war, but a different kind of war. “You’re still fighting a war, you know. Now you’re just fighting one with yourself,” confessed Overton.

As they both had trouble hearing each other, the conversation proved difficult at times, “but it’s too much to tell. You can’t tell it all,” said the older one.

Ian Harvey

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