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Meet the remaining WWI vets
Scripps Howard News Service


November 10, 2006
Friday AM

Here is a look at the last known living veterans of World War I.

Lloyd Brown, 106, lives in Bethesda, Md. Enlisted in the Navy at age 16 and served on the battleship USS New Hampshire, which patrolled the North Atlantic hunting German submarines. Reenlisted after the war as a Navy musician, then became a Washington, D.C. fireman. Lives alone in a house three blocks from a daughter's residence and uses a golf cart to get around.

Russell Buchanan, 106, lives in Watertown, Mass. Joined the Navy in the last months of World War I, and served Stateside. In World War II, served in the Army's "Yankee Division" in Europe. Credits longevity to staying fit.




Frank Buckles, 105, lives near Charles Town, W.Va. Lied about his age to join the Army, served in ambulance service in France in 1917-1918. Caught Gen. John Pershing's eye with his dapper appearance. In World War II, was imprisoned for more than three years in a Japanese POW camp. Still runs his 330-acre farm and lives largely on his own.

Russell Coffey, 108, lives in North Baltimore, Ohio. Enlisted in the Army about a month before Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918, and never shipped out. Honorably discharged in December 1918, and went on to play semipro baseball in Akron. Became a teacher and coach. Continued to drive until he was 104 and lived alone until three years ago.

Samuel Goldberg, 106, lives in Greenville, R.I. Immigrated at age 5 from Poland with his family. Last surviving member of the U.S. Army Cavalry. Joined the Army for adventure and served at Fort Hatchita, N. M., and at forts along the U.S.-Mexican border in 1918 to defend against a possible invasion via Mexico by Germany.

Moses Hardy, 112 or 113, lives in Aberdeen, Miss., the town in which he was born. Oldest U.S. combat veteran ever. An African American, he served in a segregated Army unit from July 1918 to July 1919 in France, including 39 days in combat. Son of former slaves, he drove a school bus, farmed and sold liniments and wigs after the war. Has outlived three of his eight children. Says Dr. Pepper is the only doctor he likes.

Emiliano Mercado del Toro, 115, lives in Isabella, Puerto Rico. Is both the world's oldest living man and the longest-lived U.S. veteran in history. Enlisted on Oct. 7, 1918, and was sent to Panama for training, where he was on Armistice Day a month later. Now blind, he credits his daily diet of boiled corn meal, cod, and milk for his longevity, along with lifelong abstinence from alcohol.

Antonio Pierro, 110, lives in Swampscott, Mass. Four years after he immigrated from Forenza, Italy, he enlisted and fought in the brutal Argonne offensive in France, which saw 1,000 U.S. casualties a day but was pivotal in pushing back the Germans and boosting Allied morale. Drove a horse and wagon to the front to bring supplies and take back bodies. After the war, did research and development at a General Electric plant. Says exercise, hard work and lots of rest are his secrets to longevity.

Ernest Pusey, 111, of Bradenton, Fla. Oldest living Navy veteran. Served aboard the battleship Wyoming during the war. Worked at General Motors plant from 1926 until he retired in 1958. As GM's oldest pensioner, he has been retired longer than he worked for the automotive giant. Has outlived two wives and a son.

Howard Ramsey, 108, lives in Portland, Ore. So determined to enlist, he stuffed himself with bananas to gain enough weight to pass muster. A skilled driver at a time when motor vehicles were few, he brought fresh water to the troops in the trenches, and later transferred decomposing war casualties from temporary graves to permanent resting places. After the war, became a telephone engineer. Tried to enlist in World War II, but his civilian work was considered too essential to take him from the home front.

Albert Wagner, 107, lives in Smith Center, Kan. The oldest living former Marine, he served in France and Germany attached to the Army. After his service, he became a schools superintendent. At his 106th birthday party, he dozed through most of the festivities, but bolted awake when he heard the Marine Corps Hymn. Was recently honored when Kansas dedicated the World War I Veterans Memorial Highway in Smith County. His son served in the Marines in World War II.

Charlotte Winters, 109, lives in Boonsboro, Md. Now the oldest U.S. female veteran, she served as a "Yeomanette" in the WWI Naval Reserve. One of more than 11,000 such women Stateside, she worked in a gun factory and as a secretary. Others served as clerks, telephone operators, draftsmen and camouflage designers, but none was permitted to remain in the military after the war. She lives now in a nursing home.


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