Monday, February 28, 2011

The Last Doughboy

Frank W. Buckles, the man who lived to become America’s last known World War I veteran, died peacefully in his sleep early Sunday, at the age of 110.

Buckles joined the Army at the age of 16 on Aug. 14, 1917, having lied about his age to enlist. He joined nearly 5 million Americans for the first of World Wars, which dominated Europe from 1914 to 1918. Buckles served as an ambulance driver behind the trenches in Europe and rose to the rank of corporal before the war ended. Next, he took up a career as a ship's officer on merchant vessels.

Then in 1941, Buckles survived being a civilian POW in World War II, after he was caught in Manila when Japan invaded the Philippines. He endured 38 months of cruel treatment before being freed in a military raid.

According to the Washington Post, with Buckles' death, only a 109-year-old Australian man and a 110-year-old British woman were believed to survive from the estimated 65 million people who served in the 1914-1918 war.

Buckles lived out the rest of his life on a cattle farm with a Colonial-era stone house near Charles Town, W.Va. He died of natural causes early Sunday at his home. AFA proudly salutes the legacy of the last doughboy.

Check out this fantastic photoblog of his life at

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