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February 28, 2011

Frank W. Buckles, The Last American Veteran Of WWI Dies At Age 110

And then there were none.

Mr. Buckles, who was born by lantern light in a Missouri farmhouse, quit school at 16 and bluffed his way into the Army. As the nation flexed its full military might overseas for the first time, he joined 4.7 million Americans in uniform and was among 2 million U.S. troops shipped to France to vanquish the German kaiser.

Ninety years later, with available records showing that former corporal Buckles, serial No. 15577, had outlived all of his compatriots from World War I, the Department of Veterans Affairs declared him the last doughboy standing. He was soon answering fan mail and welcoming a multitude of inquisitive visitors to his rural home.

"I feel like an endangered species," he joked, well into his 11th decade. As a rear-echelon ambulance driver behind the trenches of the Western Front in 1918, he had been safe from the worst of the fighting. But "I saw the results," he would say.

With his death, researchers said, only two of the approximately 65 million people mobilized by the world's militaries during the Great War are known to be alive: an Australian man, 109, and a British woman, 110 .

It sounds like Mr. Buckles had quite the life, he actually spent most of WWII in a Japanese prison camp.

When I was a kid in the 70's and 80's, WWI vets seemed so few and ancient even back then. It's hard to believe that kids today must feel that way about WWII vets.

The march of time and all of that.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:11 AM

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