Monday, February 28, 2011

Frank Buckles, America's oldest World War I vet, Dies

America's oldest World War I veteran, Frank Woodruff Buckles, passed away last night in West Virginia. He was the last U.S. WWI veteran alive.

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.

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