Richard Arvine Overton is an American supercentenarian who at age111 years, is the oldest verified surviving US war veteran. He is a veteran of World War II, and has been honored by U.S. President Barack Obama and currently lives in Austin, Texas.
Richard Overton was born in Bastrop County on May 11, 1906. Theodore Roosevelt was president and it was less than a month after much of San Francisco was destroyed by an earthquake. During World War II, he served in the Pacific Theater with the Army’s all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion from 1942 to 1945.
Overton enlisted in the U.S. military on September 3, 1940 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He served in the South Pacific from 1940 through 1945, including stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima. He left the U.S. Army in October 1945 as a corporal, technician fifth grade.
Overton’s tour of duty included Anguar, Peleliu and Iwo Jima. After the war, he returned to Austin and has lived in the same house ever since. He worked in the furniture business and as a longtime aide at the Capitol, where he handled mail and deliveries.
Overton is the subject of a 2016 documentary, Mr. Overton, in which he is interviewed about his daily routine, thoughts on his longevity, and his military service. It is currently on the film festival circuit. On May 3, 2016, he became the oldest surviving American veteran after the death of Frank Levingston, a man of African American heritage from Bossier Parish, Lake Charles.
When he was 82 years old, his wife, Wilma, died in 1988. He lives in Austin, Texas. In November 2015, Overton was hospitalized there for pneumonia at the age of 109. On May 11, 2016, Overton became a supercentenarian, when he reached the age of 110.