World’s Oldest U.S. Veteran Turns 112 And Shares His Secret For A Long Life

He is believed to be the oldest living American, and the third oldest person in the world.

On Friday May 11, the world's oldest World War II veteran, Richard Overton, celebrated his 112th birthday at his home in East Austin. According to My Statesmen News, his birthday was hosted by Austin hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm and featured music by DJ Kay Cali. 

Overton is believed to be the oldest living American, and the third oldest person in the world.  


"I love to have a birthday," Overton told the publication. "That's another day. I hope I live another five years."

Overton was born in 1906 and lives in Bastrop County, right outside Austin. He served in the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion — a segregated army unit — from 1942 to 1945, and worked in the furniture business and handled mail and delivery once he returned from war.

His home state has honored him in a number of ways, including naming the street on which he lives after him. Earlier this year, Overton also visited an East Austin mural that features him as an iconic figure. 

"He's like a gift to Austin that keeps giving," his friend Steve Wiener told Statesman News.  "He's a crackerjack. When people sense his humor and playfulness, it just lightens everyone's step."

According to Fox News, Overton has met several influential people throughout his lifetime, including former President Barack Obama and former TX Gov. Rick Perry. His favorite memory was seeing Obama elected  as the first African American president. 

Though Overton is in the December of his life, he is still living every day to the fullest.  Just last month, he flew on a private jet to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. According to Dallas Morning News, the super-centenarian also smokes around 12 cigars daily, and his favorite drink is a whiskey coke. 

His secret to a long life is ... wait for it ... "Just keep living. Don't die." 

Well played, Overton. Well played. 


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