Last US WWI Vet Dead at 110

Frank Buckles was final survivor of 5 million Americans who served

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 28, 2011 1:55 AM CST

(Newser) – The last doughboy has died. Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, died peacefully of natural causes at his farm in West Virginia at age 110, the Washington Post reports. Buckles, who was born in Missouri in 1901, lied about his age to get into the military at 16 and served as an ambulance driver in France. In World War II, he spent three and a half years as a civilian prisoner of war in the Philippines after being captured by the Japanese.

Buckles, who appeared before Congress in 2009 to make the case for creating a national World War I memorial, spent several years as the last survivor of the almost 5 million Americans who served in the conflict. "I knew there'd be only one someday," he said a few years ago. "I didn't think it would be me." Thanks to a special exemption ordered by George W. Bush in 2008, Buckles will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery despite not having a Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, or having been killed in action.

Frank Buckles' 1917 enlistment photo into the US Army. Buckles quit school aged 16 and hoodwinked recruiters into letting him sign up.   (AP Photo/courtesy of the Buckles Family/file)
Frank Buckles receives an American flag during Memorial Day activities in 2008 at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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