The Last Known American WWI Veteran


Frank Buckles —
Born Feb. 1, 1901

While reading the headlines yesterday, I stumbled upon this news clip about the oldest known American survivor of the Great War. Frank Buckles from Missouri—now 108 years old—is seen in this ABC News video clip from two years ago describing how he joined the U.S. Army at the young age of 16. (Unfortunately, there was no option for me to embed the video here, so you will have to be taken to to a Yahoo! page and endure a commercial first.)

It is incredible to consider the scope of history that Buckles has been alive to witness. He was eleven years old when the Titanic sank, and was born while another war veteran—Union Captain William McKinley—was still President. After enlisting as a sixteen-year-old in 1917, Buckles was deployed to Europe by way of the RMS Carpathia, the same ship responsible for the rescue of the Titanic survivors just five years before. Buckles was not old enough in 1917 to be recruited, so he lied about his age. Of his interaction with the Army recruiter, he says this:

When I was born in Missouri, they didn’t

[issue] birth certificates, and the only record we kept was in the family Bible, and I told them I wasn’t going to bring that down here, so… they took me.

More information is available about this veteran and his amazing, event-filled life in his Wikipedia entry.

2017-02-22T16:44:11+00:00 May 23rd, 2009|History|