Lawrence Brooks, who is believed to be the eldest living WWII veteran celebrated his 110th birthday last Thursday at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
Brooks celebrated his birthday surrounded by other veterans and several current military service members, as well as friends and family. The event included cupcakes and an exclusive show put on by the Victory Belles.
According to CNN, the veteran was born in 1909. During World War II, he became a private first class, while he served in the Army’s 91st Engineer Battalion. This majority African-American unit’s station was in New Guinea. They saw action in the Philippines. His role was as a servant to the white officers who were in charge of the battalion.
Mr. Brooks has five children and is a stepfather to another five.
His Memorable Brush With Death
Brooks told the story of flying from Australia in the back of a C-47 cargo plane. The plane was hauling barbed wire to New Guinea. During the flight, one of the engines gave out.
The pilot ordered the passengers to lighten the load as fast as possible. Brooks recounted that he started throwing boxes out the back as if is life depended on it.There were only two parachutes on board: one for the pilot and one for the co-pilot.
Thankfully, there was no need for that. But, it definitely nerve-racking according to what Brooks clearly remembers.
Lawrence is only three years younger than the man who is probably the oldest living WWII veteran. Gustav Gerneth was fighting on the German side of the war and ended up being captured by the Russians. He is 113 years old. The museum wants to celebrate the bravery and action that Lawrence and other WWII veterans saw so long ago. That’s why they celebrated his birthday in such a special way.
What do you think of Lawrence and his experiences? Do you know any surviving WWII veterans? Let us know in the comments – and make sure you pass this along to your friends and family!