Oldest WWII veteran, a Louisiana man, dies at 112 years old


FILE – In this Sept. 12, 2019 file photo, World War II veteran Lawrence Brooks holds a photo of him taken in 1943, as he celebrates his 110th birthday at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Brooks celebrated his 112th birthday, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 with a drive-by party at his New Orleans home hosted by the National War War II Museum. Drafted in 1940, Brooks was a private in the Army’s mostly Black 91st Engineer Battalion. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The National WWII Museum announced the passing of Lawrence Brooks, who died, January 5, 2022. At age 112, he was the oldest known living US veteran.

“The National WWII Museum is saddened to hear of the passing of Lawrence Brooks, who died today. At age 112, he was the oldest known living US veteran.”

According to The New Orleans National WWII Museum, Brooks was one of 15 children and he was born on September 12, 1909, and was raised in Norwood,  Louisiana, a small village about 40 miles north of Baton Rouge.

He was drafted into the US Army at the age of 31 and spent World War II in the predominantly African American 91st Engineer Battalion. He was stationed in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Classified as service personnel, he cleaned and cooked for three of the battalion’s white officers and attained the rank of Private 1st Class.

Since 2014, The National WWII Museum has hosted Brooks’ birthday parties—he turned 105 that year—and his good humor and enthusiasm at these celebrations made him a much-beloved figure on the Museum’s New Orleans campus.

“The Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers at The National WWII Museum will forever cherish the memories we shared with Lawrence Brooks,” said Stephen J. Watson, Museum President & CEO. “He was a beloved friend, a man of great faith and had a gentle spirit that inspired those around him. As the nation’s oldest known living veteran, he proudly served our country during World War II, and returned home to serve his community and church. His kindness, smile and sense of humor connected him to generations of people who loved and admired him. We send our sincerest condolences to his daughter Vanessa and the entire Brooks family.”

The National WWII Museum

To learn more about Lawrence Brooks and his life visit the National WWII Museums website.

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