Frank Buckles (WWI) at the Pentagon

March 6th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Frank Buckles (WWI) at the Pentagon

Today, Frank Buckles visited the Pentagon. He is only one of two remaining World War I veterans still alive. Today, they dedicated his portrait to the Pentagon's World War I gallery. CPL Bucles is 107 years young. In attendance for today's ceremony was the SecDef, SecArmy, Chief of Staff, Army along with many other service members and family. I must say, it was pretty cool to see.
March 7th, 2008  
Del Boy
It is always an inspiration to see the last few remaining heroes from WW1. Indominitable spirit. I salute them.
March 7th, 2008  
Team Infidel
it was amazing. he was in a wheelchair, but he was still pretty sharp considering his age. I was very happy to be there......

Houston Chronicle
March 7, 2008 Bush Honors The Service Of World War I Veteran, 107
By Associated Press
Calling it a high honor, President Bush on Thursday warmly greeted 107-year-old Frank Woodruff Buckles, described by the White House as the oldest living American-born veteran of World War I.
"Mr. Buckles' mind is sharp, his memory is crisp, and he's been sharing with me some interesting anecdotes," Bush said in the Oval Office. Buckles, in a wheelchair to Bush's right, sat quietly with his hands clasped as the president spoke during a short photo opportunity.
Bush said that before reporters came in the room, Buckles had recalled chatting with General John J. Pershing, a legendary figure from World War I.
Eager to get in the Army in 1917, Buckles lied to a military recruiter about his age and enlisted at the start of the U.S. involvement in the war.
He served in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. By 1920, he was discharged with the rank of corporal.
"Mr. Buckles has a vivid recollection of historic times," Bush said.
"And one way for me to honor the service of those who wear the uniform in the past and those who wear it today is to herald you, sir, and to thank you very much for your patriotism and your love for America."
Buckles, a West Virginia resident, was born in 1901.
March 9th, 2008  
the last of a dying breed, just to imagine the change in the world and the united states thats been seen though his eyes....

When he was a kid versus today, kinda crazy.
February 2nd, 2009  
Happy Birthday, Mr. Buckles!

US's Last Known WWI Vet Turns 108
February 02, 2009
Philadelphia Inquirer

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- World War I took place so long ago -- in a lost world of cavalry horses and biplanes -- that it's a little startling to meet Frank Buckles in the flesh.

The last known U.S. military veteran of World War I, Buckles turned 108 on Sunday.

On Jan. 27, as a winter storm moved in from the west, he sat in a nice blue blazer in a warm corner of his day room, surrounded by history books. Outside, white wisps blew across the pale stubble on the 330-acre cattle farm where he settled quietly in 1954 after what already had been a life's worth of adventure in not one but two wars and as a commercial seafarer. Beyond lay the river town of Harpers Ferry and the Civil War battlefield at Antietam.

Buckles said he had always known he would grow quite old. His father lived to be 97. He had a sister who was 104. Other relatives on his mother's side lived to be 100.

The national World War I veterans group, of which he is the commander and sole member, used to publish a newsletter. Each issue counted down the number of old doughboys still around. As the number got smaller and smaller, "I realized I'd be one of the last," he said, "but I never thought I'd be the last."

He grinned slowly and added, "Of course, if it has to be somebody, it might as well be me."

On Nov. 11, the 90th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs recognized Buckles as "our last living link" to that war. Buckles met President George W. Bush at the White House last year and was feted at the Pentagon.

He seems to have enjoyed the attention, but he isn't eager to talk about the sadness and melancholy that must come with being the last of 4,734,991 American military personnel during the war, in 1917 and 1918.

"Being the last is sort of a negative thing because it means all your buddies have gone before you, so he doesn't dwell on that," said Muriel Sue Kerr of Mount Vernon, Va., the longtime director of Buckles' veterans group and the granddaughter of a World War I veteran.

Until he was in his 70s, Buckles each month smoked a pound of pipe tobacco and a box of cigars that he ordered from a shop in San Francisco.

He drove a car and a farm tractor until he was 102.

He's still in good health -- "for a man my age," as he put it. A couple of years ago, his only child, Susannah, 53, moved in with him. His son-in-law built two new rooms on the ground floor of his 250-year-old house so he doesn't have to climb stairs anymore.

As he sat in his favorite chair, his shaggy hair combed across his scalp, an eagle-head cane leaning against the wall, Buckles had to concentrate hard to hear the questions in an interview. His answers came with pauses to catch his breath.

He enjoyed telling the old, old stories -- the funny ones, mostly. Like the time he tried to teach his father how to drive a Model T Ford on the Oklahoma farm where he grew up. On the way back to the house after a spin, his father forgot himself and yelled, "Whoa!" The car crashed through the gate.

If anyone could be said to embody the history of America, Buckles might be it.

He can remember talking to his grandmother, born in 1817. His grandmother, in turn, could remember talking to her grandfather, who had been in the Revolutionary War. The first Buckles came from England to Philadelphia in 1702 and married into a Quaker family in Bucks County. The clan moved to the upper Potomac River region in 1732, the year of George Washington's birth.

Frank Woodruff Buckles was born Feb. 1, 1901. When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, he was 13. He was still just 16 in 1917 when the United States entered the war against Germany, on the side of Britain and France.

He tried to join the Marines, but was rejected as too young. He tried the Navy, then the Army. He lied that he was unable to produce his birth certificate, and the Army let him in.

In December 1917, he sailed for Europe aboard the ocean liner Carpathia, converted into a troop ship. The Carpathia had rescued survivors of the Titanic 51/2 years earlier.

After landing in England, Buckles worked as a military driver. He had to finagle his way to France. He never saw combat -- "not close," he said -- but he was at least in the war theater. He was a corporal when he got home.

Having seen Paris, he couldn't be kept down on the farm. He moved to New York City, where he worked for a bank. In another brush with history, he attended the Sunday Bible class at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church led by John D. Rockefeller Jr., heir to the Standard Oil fortune.

Banking was boring for him, so he decided to go to sea. He spent the 1920s and '30s sailing three oceans as a ship's officer. He hit ports up and down both coasts of South America, and visited the town of Vilcabamba in Ecuador's "valley of longevity," where people were said to live to be 110 or even 115. "I saw that I could live to be 100," he said.

In 1940, he boarded a ship bound from San Francisco to the Philippines. He was in Manila when the Japanese attacked there a few hours after the raid on Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese invaded, he was among Western civilians taken prisoner.

He was held for 31/2 years at the Santo Tomas and Los Banos internment camps. He wouldn't talk much about that time, except to say, "There was no mercy as far as the Japanese were concerned." He once saw three men, British and Australian, nearly beaten to death.

Food became scarce as the Japanese began to lose the war. At Los Banos, on the campus of an agricultural university, the prisoners found a scale. Buckles discovered that he had lost almost a third of his 140 pounds. "When I got down to 100 pounds," he said, "I quit weighing."

Buckles still has the chipped metal cup from which he ate his beans and rice.

On Feb. 23, 1945, six months before the end of World War II, U.S. and Philippine forces liberated the Los Banos camp.

Buckles, who had led daily fitness exercises in the camp, was almost the only one of 2,100 survivors who didn't go directly to a hospital when they landed back in San Francisco, he said. Instead, he checked into a hotel.

He discovered that while he had been gone, his paychecks from his shipping company had been piling up at the Crocker Bank.

"I was starving, but I had money in the bank," he said.

"The average man who got paid off, I can imagine what he did," he said. "He bought a new automobile or used that money right off."

But Buckles let the money ride. He kept it invested with the bank. Come a January day nine years later -- "it was snowing like this," he said -- he visited the Charles Town farm and was able to buy it.

Until not long ago, he said, few people in the area knew he was a World War I veteran. He had no reason to mention it.

But as veterans dwindled to a few, he started to attract interest from journalists, history buffs and autograph-seekers. He now even has a Web site,

In September 2006, portrait photographer David DeJonge of Grand Rapids, Mich., set out to photograph all of the remaining World War I veterans. He had 15 names on his list. By the time he got started, four men had died. Others faded away as his work progressed.

Last March, nine DeJonge portraits, including one of Buckles, were hung in a corridor of the Pentagon.

With Buckles beside him, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said: "The First World War is not well understood or remembered in the United States. There is no big memorial on the National Mall. Hollywood has not turned its gaze in this direction for decades. Yet few events have so markedly shaped the world we live in."

Having experienced two wars up close, Buckles watched from afar as the United States fought in Korea and Vietnam.

He now watches as his country makes war in Iraq and Afghanistan -- mystifying realms of satellite-guided bombs and unmanned aerial vehicles that not even Jules Verne or H.G. Wells could have conjured in the books Buckles read as a boy.

Speaking of Iraq, he commented: "We shouldn't have got into that damned war."

But he hastened to add that his opinion didn't matter.

"Why do I get the authority to speak for anybody?" he said. "I can't do that."
February 2nd, 2009  
Happy Birthday, Mr Buckles.
February 2nd, 2009  
Team Infidel
thats pretty cool... good find AJ
February 2nd, 2009  
Couldn't help it...showed up in my inbox courtesy of
August 4th, 2010  
Yeah I agree, MR Frank Buckles is a truely great hero. It was just amazing that he lived for so long…
August 6th, 2010  
Jeff Simmons
As a fellow West Virginian, I am extremely proud to read the great accomplishments of a fellow "Mountaineer." I wish I could sit down and have a long talk with him. I only met one WWI veteran in my lifetime; I was in Buxton, England, when I met a fellow in a pub who told me that he'd been in the Battle of the Somme. I kick myself quite frequently, because I was 19 at the time and more interested in kicking back pints than listening to old war stories. D'Oh!

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