Frank Buckles Dead: Oldest World War I Veteran Dies At 110
Earlier this month he turned 110. He was born on February 1, 1901, on a farm near Bethany, Missouri.
Buckles joined the army at 16, lying about his age to join the institution. When an Army recruiter asked for his birth certificate, Buckles stated that Missouri didn't keep birth records, according to the L.A. Times. He said the only record was in his family bible, and it worked.
During WWI, Buckles served as a member of the ambulance corps. His duties included removing bodies from the battlefield, a grisly task during the first European conflict. Buckles also survived three years in a Japanese POW camp as a civillian after the shipping freighter he was working on was captured during WWII, according to CNN.
Buckles became the last remaining US WWI veteran in 2008, after 108-year-old Harry Landis passed away.
Buckles will likely be buried at Arlington, as Military District of Washington has expressed it's support for him to buried there, according to CNN. "It has long been my father's wish to be buried in Arlington, in the same cemetery that holds his beloved General Pershing," Susannah Buckles Flanagan, Frank Buckles' daughter, wrote in a letter to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.
UPDATE: President Obama has released an official statement on the passing of Frank Buckles, which can be read in its entirety below.
From President Obama:
Michelle and I were inspired by the service and life story of former Army Corporal Frank W. Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I and the oldest known World War I era veteran in the world, who passed away yesterday at the age of 110. A decorated soldier in the Great War, he also survived more than three years in Japanese prisoner of war camps during the Second World War.
Frank Buckles lived the American Century. Like so many veterans, he returned home, continued his education, began a career, and along with his late wife Audrey, raised their daughter Susannah. And just as Frank continued to serve America until his passing, as the Honorary Chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation, our nation has a sacred obligation to always serve our veterans and their families as well as they’ve served us. We join Susannah and all those who knew and loved her father in celebrating a remarkable life that reminds us of the true meaning of patriotism and our obligations to each other as Americans.