February 28th, 2011

Last American WWI Veteran Passes at Age 110

Frank Buckles, the last living American WWI veteran, passed away Sunday at his home in Charles Town, West Virginia. He was 110 years old, having marked his 110th birthday on February 1, 2011. In recent years, Buckles worked with groups seeking to establish a Memorial in Washington, DC for all WWI veterans. READ Related Story.

Rest in peace Mr. Buckles — we salute you for your service, as we salute your fellow soldiers who passed before you. 4,734,991 Americans served in uniform during World War I. They fought on land and sea, in the first true global conflict. By the end of WWI over 15,000,000 soldiers and civilians worldwide had died in that conflict, including 120,000 Americans (as many from disease as from wounds). A thousand U.S. soldiers died every DAY in the 3-week Meuse-Argonne offensive.

The Last Doughboy
Army veteran Frank Buckles was the last surviving American “Doughboy” who fought in Europe in “The Great War”. His story is a profile in patriotism (and youthful exuberance). When only 16 years old, he tried to enlist in the U.S. Marines. They turned him down, so he joined the Army, lying about his age. He served in Britain and France as an ambulance driver, then helped escort German prisoners home to Germany after the surrender.

In an interview a few years ago, Buckles recalled his service in the Great War, explaining why he joined the Army at age 16: “When your nation calls,” Buckles said, “you have to go”. (Read recent interview.)

WWI veteranWWI veteran

Following WWI, Buckles wanted to see the world, so he took work with a steamship company. That job placed him in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded. He was captured and interred in a prison camp for three years before being liberated. To learn more about Frank Buckles and his experiences in WWI and WWII, CLICK HERE for USAToday Feature Story. (Highly recommended–worth reading.)

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