Richard Overton, the country’s oldest World War II veteran and oldest man, has died at the age of 112.
The death was confirmed by Shirley Overton, a family member.The veteran had been hospitalized with pneumonia. In 1942 Overton volunteered for the army and served with the 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion, an all-black unit that served on various islands in the Pacific.
“He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said. ‘I only got out of there by the grace of God,'” former President Barack Obama said while honoring Overton at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in 2013.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Thursday, calling Overton “an American icon and Texas legend.”
Statement on passing of Richard Overton, America’s oldest WWII veteran: pic.twitter.com/qvHxAsEA0X
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) December 28, 2018
Overton told that he credited God for his long life but admitted to enjoying his vices.”I drink whiskey in my coffee. Sometimes I drink it straight,” he said when he was 107. “I smoke my cigars, blow the smoke out; I don’t swallow it.”
In 2015 a short documentary was made on him by the title “Mr. Overton” by Austin-based filmmakers Rocky Conly and Matt Cooper.
In the documentary he said he loved to eat soup, corn and fish, and drink milk.”I eat ice cream every night. It makes me happy,” he said. Especially butter pecan, he said.