Richard Arvin Overton

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Richard Arvin Overton
CPL Richard Arvine Overton, USA.jpg
Overton in the U.S. Army during the 1940s
Nickname(s) Arvin
Born (1906-05-11)May 11, 1906
(age 111 years, 251 days)
Bastrop County, Texas, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Years of service 1940–45
Rank US Army WWII T5C.svg Technician fifth grade[1]
Unit 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion (Colored)

World War II

Awards Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation
Army Good Conduct Medal ribbon.svg U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
ArmyQualExpert.JPG Expert Rifle Marksmanship Badge

Richard Arvin Overton (born May 11, 1906) is an American supercentenarian who at age 111 years, 251 days is the oldest verified surviving U.S. war veteran and the oldest living man in the United States. He is a veteran of World War II who served with the United States Army. In 2013 he was honored by President Barack Obama.[2][3][4][5] He currently resides in Austin, Texas.

Early life and education[edit]

Overton was born in Bastrop County, Texas[6] to Gentry Overton, Sr. (1877–1920) and Elizabeth Franklin Overton Waters (1876–1939). His patrilineal great grandfather, John Overton, Jr., was white and a son of John Overton. He is of African-American, English and Irish descent.[citation needed]

Military and civilian career[edit]

Richard Arvin Overton, pictured in 2013

Overton was inducted into the U.S. military on September 3, 1940 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.[7]

He served in the South Pacific from 1940 through 1945, including stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima. He left the U.S. Army in October 1945 as a technician fifth grade.[8]

Overton worked at local furniture stores before taking a position with the Texas Department of the Treasury (now part of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts) in Austin. He was married twice and never had children.[citation needed]

Later life[edit]

U.S. President Barack Obama, shakes hands with Overton in the Blue Room at the White House on Veterans Day 2013

Overton gained media attention during the 2013 Memorial Day weekend when he told Fox News he would spend his Memorial Day "smoking cigars and drinking whiskey-stiffened coffee."[9][10]

On that same Memorial Day, Overton met with Texas Governor Rick Perry.[11] Overton was also invited to the White House where he met with President Barack Obama, and to the Veterans' Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was singled out by name for praise by the President.[5][12][13]

During an NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies on March 24, 2017, Overton was honored during a half-time break.[14]

Overton is the subject of a 2016 documentary, Mr. Overton, in which he is interviewed about his daily routine, thoughts on his longevity, and his military service. On May 3, 2016, he became the oldest surviving American veteran after the death of Frank Levingston from Bossier Parish, Lake Charles, Louisiana.[citation needed]

On May 11, 2016, Overton became a supercentenarian.[6]

Personal life[edit]

He lives in Austin, Texas. In November 2015, Overton was hospitalized there for pneumonia at the age of 109.[15]

A week after celebrating his 111th birthday in May 2017, he was once again hospitalized for pneumonia.[16]

Steve Adler
Mayor Steve Adler came to visit Richard Overton before the Veteran's Day parade in November 2017.

In August 2017, Overton was hospitalized in Austin for pneumonia in both of his lungs.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "109-Year-Old Veteran and His Secrets to Life Will Make You Smile - Short Film Showcase". YouTube. 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2017-04-26. 
  2. ^ Royce-Bartlett, Lindy (November 11, 2013). "Oldest World War II vet Richard Overton, 107, honored by President Obama". CNN. 
  3. ^ Thuman, Scott (November 11, 2013), Richard Overton honored by President Obama on Veterans Day, WJLA-TV 
  4. ^ Toppo, Greg (November 10, 2013). "Oldest living WWII vet to meet with Obama". USA Today. 
  5. ^ a b "Oldest known WWII veteran honored at Arlington ceremony". Fox News Channel. November 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Staff (2016-05-11). "Nation's oldest living WWII Combat Veteran Richard Overton turning 110". Retrieved 2016-05-11. 
  7. ^ National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, U.S.: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.
    transcription of record here; accessed September 1, 2015.(subscription required)
  8. ^ Arvine, Richard Overton (2013). "Richard Arvine Overton Collection". Veterans History Project. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  9. ^ "America's oldest veteran to spend quiet Memorial Day at Texas home". Fox News Channel. May 26, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ Golgowski, Nina (May 25, 2013). "America's oldest vet, aged 107, who saw comrades fall in WWII to spend Memorial Day with cigars and whiskey-stiffened coffee". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Oldest living WWII vet meets Gov. Perry". YouTube. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ Jackson, David (November 11, 2013). "Obama: 'We will never forget' veterans". USA Today. 
  13. ^ President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, White House, November 11, 2013 
  14. ^ Carbaugh, Dane (2017-03-24). "Spurs honor Richard Overton, the oldest living U.S. veteran at Military Appreciation Night". ProBasketballTalk. Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  15. ^ "Austinite Richard Overton, nation's oldest WWII veteran, hospitalized". November 11, 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  16. ^ Hall, Katie (2017-05-19). "UPDATE: Richard Overton, oldest vet and Austin resident, diagnosed with pneumonia, family says". Statesman. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  17. ^ Lauren Reid (August 10, 2017). "Richard Overton taken to hospital for pneumonia". Fox 7 Austin. Retrieved August 12, 2017.