Indian Hair Report

Americas oldest veteran celebrates his 109th birthday with thanks to alcohol

  • Richard Overton, who served during World War II, turns 109 on Monday
  • Celebrated with an early party on Sunday in his backyard in Austin, Texas
  • Says the key to long life is an Irish coffee and ‘staying out of trouble’  

Elaine O’flynn For Mailonline

America’s oldest war veteran will celebrate his 109th birthday on Monday, May 11 – and he got the partystarted with cigars, whiskey, milkshakes and burgers in his backyard on Sunday.

Richard Overton from Austin, who served in the Pacific region during World War II, invited friends and family over to his house for a special early birthday party on Sunday.

The Mayor of Austin Steve Adler joined the area’s police officers at the celebration – with Mr Overton saying he’s already looking forward to welcoming his well-wishes back next year when he will turn 110.

Scroll down for video

World War II veteran Richard Overton, who turns 109 next week, celebrated with whiskey and cigars

World War II veteran Richard Overton, who turns 109 next week, celebrated with whiskey and cigars

President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, with Earlene Love-Karo, in the White House in 2013

President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, with Earlene Love-Karo, in the White House in 2013

Friends and family gather to celebrate Mr Overton's 109th birthday on Sunday outside his home in Austin

Friends and family gather to celebrate Mr Overton’s 109th birthday on Sunday outside his home in Austin

‘I’m really surprised, I really didn’t know there was going to be this many people. I knew it was going to be somebody, but I didn’t know it was going to be like this and I really enjoyed it’, Mr Overton told KVUE ABC.

Born in 1906 in Bastrop County, Mr Overton was in his thirties when he volunteered in 1942 and saw action in the Pacific with the Army’s 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion.

After the war he moved back to Texas, when he sold furniture and later worked for the state Treasurer’s Office.

He’s credited his long life to his ‘medicine’ – the tablespoon of whiskey he adds to his morning coffee, which he claims keeps his muscles tender.

The 108-year-old also smokes around a dozen cigars – but doesn’t inhale – everyday.

The key to living to his age, he said, is simply ‘staying out of trouble’.

Richard Overton, pictured in his uniform during World War II
Overton is now aged 108 and will turn 109 on Monday, May 11

Overton volunteered for service in 1624 (left) and served in the South Pacific until 1945, and is now 108

Star of the show: Richard Overton is pictured in a selfie at he Veterans Day parade in Austin, Texas, in 2014

Star of the show: Richard Overton is pictured in a selfie at he Veterans Day parade in Austin, Texas, in 2014

Overton was at the center of last year’s Veterans Day parade in Arlington – accepting a celebratory box of beloved cigars during a standing ovation – and appeared again this year at the parade near his home in Austin, Texas.

He still drives and walks without a cane, and during a television interview last March, he told a reporter that he doesn’t take medicine other than aspirin.

More than 100 people packed a conference room at the Stephen F. Austin building in downtown Austin in 2013 for a ceremony honoring Mr Overton and Ken Wallingford, who spent 10 months in a tiger cage as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The event was overseen by the General Land Office and the Veterans Land Board.

‘I’ve gotten so many letters and so many thank-yous and I enjoy every bit of it, but I’m still going to enjoy some more,’ said Mr Overton.

Though widowed 22 years ago he still lives in the house he built in Texas after the end of the war

President Obama paid tribute to the veteran when he came to the White House, speaking about his proud military record.

”He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering,’ Obama said.

Mr Overton said the key to a long life to 'medicine' - a tablespoon of whiskey - and 'staying out of trouble' 

Mr Overton said the key to a long life to ‘medicine’ – a tablespoon of whiskey – and ‘staying out of trouble’

Richard Overton is applauded as the US President acknowledges him during a Veteran's Day ceremony

Richard Overton is applauded as the US President acknowledges him during a Veteran’s Day ceremony

‘He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima.’

The president added that Overton still rakes his own lawn and drives ladies in his neighborhood to church every Sunday in his old Ford pickup.

Overton also believes in staying active as much as possible.

He said that if there’s leaves to rake or a driveway to clean, he’s going to go out and do it.

But while he is a proud returned serviceman, Overton said we should be careful about being proud of war.

‘War’s nothing to be into,’ he told USA Today last year.

‘You don’t want to go into the war if you don’t have to. But I had to go.

‘I enjoyed it after I’d went and come back, but I didn’t enjoy it when was over there.

‘I had to do things I didn’t want to do.’

Read more:

MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS

MOST READ NEWS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *