It seems only fitting that my VIP for this week should be a veteran. In fact, I have chosen to highlight a man who is believed to be our nation’s oldest living veteran, Richard Arvine Overton. Monday will be his 107th Memorial Day, and he plans to spend it quietly at his home in East Austin, Texas.
Overton was born on May 11, 1906, in Bastrop County, Texas. After World War II he returned to Austin where he built his present home. He served in the South Pacific from 1942 through 1945 and had stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau, and Iwo Jima, to name just a few of them.
Overton has received several honors and was formally recognized by Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell on May 9. On May 17 he traveled to Washington, D.C. “as part of Honor Flight, a nonprofit group that transports veterans free of charge to memorials dedicated to their service.”
No one can confirm that Overton is the oldest living veteran since only “9 million of the nation’s 22 million vets are registered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.” Overton’s wish for this Memorial Day is for the opportunity to “spend a few hours” just “reliving war stories with fellow veterans, but he’s outlived most – if not all – of them.”