Oldest WWII vet celebrates another birthday

| September 14, 2021 | 18 Comments

Lawrence Brooks at his 2020 birthday festivities

It’s been a year since we last heard about Lawrence Brooks. He’s up to eleventy-two years now (112 if you don’t Tolkien). The National WWII Museum helped host another drive-by celebration for the man who was born in 1909 and resided in Louisiana since 1929 (with a short stint away for the war naturally).

When Brooks was born, Taft was President, Edward VII (eldest son of Queen Victoria) ruled Great Britain, the Ford Model T had been in production for only one year, construction of the RMS Titanic had commenced in March, and the US Army bought the world’s first military airplane (the Wright Military Flyer) in August. He’s old enough to remember when street sweeper and lamplighter were actual jobs men held. He saw two world wars, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, and wasn’t just alive on Black Tuesday when the stock market crashed, he was an adult!

As a black man growing up in the south, born just 43 years after the Civil War, he undoubtedly knew (and likely had grandparents or other close relations) who remember prebellum slavery or were slaves themselves.

Fox News reports this anecdote of his service;

Born in Norwood, La., in 1909, Brooks has lived in New Orleans since 1929. Drafted in 1940, he was a private in the Army’s mostly Black 91st Engineer Battalion, a unit that was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines and built infrastructure such as bridges, roads and airstrips.

In an oral history about his service posted on YouTube, Brooks also described how he was delivering a load of barbed wire to the front when one of the engines of the C-47 he was traveling in went out.

After they dumped the barbed wire to conserve weight, he made his way to the cockpit. He told the pilot and co-pilot that since they were the only two with parachutes, if they had to jump for it, he was going to grab on to one of them.

“We made it though,” he said laughing. “We had a big laugh about that.”

Keep laughing for many years to come, Mr. Brooks. Amazing life worth saluting.

Category: Army, Geezer Alert!

Comments (18)

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  1. Steve says:

    Incredible. The history this man has seen.

    He must look at the world today and just chuckle.

  2. Sapper3307 says:

    Sappers forward, young man!

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    I’d bet he’s got more stories than he can count!

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Brooks.

    What a life he’s had!!!

  4. Roh-Dog says:

    And many, many more!
    Thank you, Dear Sir.

  5. KoB says:

    Wonder if Mr. Brooks does 12 seegars and a shot of brown liquor a day to keep himself going as Mr. Overton did?

    Happy Birthday Good Sir. May you have as many more as you want to have.

  6. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Happy Birthday Sir, ESSAYONS!!!

  7. Odie says:

    Tall tree, rope just long enough for him to stand on tip toes. Pray for a windy day to make the tree sway. Failing that, place bets on how long til he gets tired. Take his ill gotten medals from his chest to lighten the load. We don’t want to appear heartless.

    • ChipNASA says:

      Ok, this isn’t funny except that I *knew* that you didn’t mean this for this thread, but the shock value was, “Well, who pissed in Odie’s Wheaties?!?!” 🧐🤣,
      Then it was already answered, “I know he meant General Milquetoast” 😁

  8. Odie says:

    My apologies. My previous comment was meant for milley.

    May this gentleman have many more birthdays.

    If the moderator can erase my previous comment, I would be thankful.

  9. OWB says:

    Happy Birthday indeed!!! May we be able to celebrate many more with you, sir.

  10. Old tanker says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Brooks and congratulations on continuing a life well lived. May it go on for many more years.

  11. Sparks says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Brooks. I wish you many more returns of the day as well.

  12. Berliner says:

    The key to long life must be in that cup he’s hoisting💡. Happy Birthday Mr. Brooks and many, many more!

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