Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Richard Overton, America’s Oldest Man And WWII Veteran, Has Died At 112
AUSTIN, Texas — Richard Overton, who was America's oldest man and oldest war veteran, died Thursday in Austin. Overton, who was honored for his military service and beloved for his propensity to enjoy his supercentenarian status with a cigar in one hand and a glass of whiskey in another, was 112 years old.
He died Thursday evening at a rehabilitation facility in Austin, said his cousin Volma Overton Jr. Before entering the rehab facility on Christmas Eve, he had been hospitalized with pneumonia at St. David's Medical Center for more than a week.
Overton was well-known to his neighbors, who often chatted with him on his porch in East Austin during the 72 years he lived there. Over the past few years, people from all over the country got a chance to know him as well, as he received increasing national attention for his age and his service in World War II.
For several of his recent birthdays, he welcomed the community into his front yard to celebrate. People from all over Central Texas arrived to say hello and gift him a birthday card — or, if they knew Overton's favorite pastimes, a bottle of whiskey or a box of cigars.
During Richard Overton's 111th birthday celebration, Volma Overton Jr. said it felt like Christmas, watching everyone line up to take a photo and share a gift with his cousin.
"It looks like everybody's getting ready to take a picture with Santa Claus — and he never turns anyone down," Volma Overton said. "He's an open person to everybody, and he wanted everyone who was in town who wanted to come by to come by."
Richard Overton in 2015US ArmyBorn in St. Mary's in Bastrop County on May 11, 1906, Richard Overton enlisted in the Army in 1942, nine months after the Pearl Harbor attack. He served in the Pacific theater — including Guam, Okinawa and Iwo Jima — until 1945, when he left the service.
Overton told the Austin American-Statesman's Ken Herman in 2013 that he had landed on more beaches under fire than he could remember. He also remembered ducking bullets in foxholes and clearing bodies from fields of battle.
After the war, he worked in furniture stores and later the state treasurer's office when future Texas Gov. Ann Richards ran the agency.
Well into his triple digits, Overton enjoyed cigars, a habit he picked up as a teenager, and occasionally a little whiskey would accidentally spill into his coffee. He reportedly drove until he was 107.
In 2013, he met President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House. That year, the Austin City Council proclaimed the veteran's birthday "Richard A. Overton Day." Council members passed a resolution to give Hamilton Avenue — the street on which Overton lived — the honorary name Richard Overton Avenue.
RIP Richard Overton. pic.twitter.com/LuuxJ5ZVGx
— Vic Jaymes McDowell (@vicjaymes) December 28, 2018Overton spent many days on his porch, greeting people as they walked by.
"He considers himself our neighborhood watchdog, and he knows everything that's going on," neighbor Helen Elliott told the American-Statesman in 2016. "I don't think the neighborhood would be what it is without him. He's our legend, our icon."
In one of his last public appearances, Overton was honored in March 2017 with a standing ovation at a San Antonio Spurs game. Overton was presented with a custom camouflage Spurs jersey with his name and the number "110," his age at the time.
Overton was featured in local, regional and national publications and was the subject of the short documentary "Mr. Overton."
In 2016, his family launched a GoFundMe page to ensure that Overton received around-the-clock home health care and could remain at home for the rest of his days. Donations poured in from all across the country to help make that happen.
Information about funeral arrangements was not immediately available.
©2018 Austin American-Statesman, Texas. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.
On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.
A new documentary series about Clint Lorance pits the infantry officer convicted of murder against his former soldiers
The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the five-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.
A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).
But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.