- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2016

The oldest living World War II veteran celebrated his 110th birthday by doing what he has enjoyed for ages: chomping on a cigar.

Richard Overton spent Wednesday surrounded by friends, family and reporters who marveled at his vigor well after a century of life.

“I feel good. I feel like I’m 50,” the United States Army Air Forces
veteran told the Austin American-Statesman on Wednesday. The Texan was born in Bastrop County in 1906 and served in the Pacific Theater from 1942 to 1945 as part of the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

Neighbors in Austin told the newspaper that Mr. Overton continues to look out for others, albeit in a different role.

“He considers himself our neighborhood watchdog, and he knows everything that’s going on,” Helen Elliott said. “I don’t think the neighborhood would be what it is without him. He’s our legend, our icon.”

“He’s got such a positive attitude. That’s probably why he’s lived so long,” added Sharon Choate.

The veteran has attributed his endurance to God, whiskey and cigars, although he told the paper he curtailed his alcohol consumption after coming down with pneumonia last winter.

“If man had [control over longevity], I’d have been dead, but God’s got it, and he’s keeping me well,” the veteran said during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in November 2007.

 

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