Buckles, et al.

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

The last liv­ing vet­eran of World War I to serve in Europe, Frank Woodruff Buckles — one of only three liv­ing World War I vet­er­ans in the U.S. — was in Wash­ing­ton for the Amer­i­can Vet­eran Cen­ter’s 10th an­nual con­fer­ence at the Re­nais­sance Wash­ing­ton Ho­tel.

The 106-year-old Mr. Buckles, who can still drive his trac­tor around his 330-acre farm in Charles Town, W.Va., en­listed in the U.S. Army in 1917, when he was only 16 years old. He claimed that birth cer­tifi­cates weren’t is­sued in the Mis­souri town where he was born. He was sent to Eng­land and France, where he was as­signed to the Army Am­bu­lance Ser­vice. When the war ended, he helped es­cort Ger­man pris­on­ers back home.

Dur­ing World War II, he fared much worse, cap­tured by the Ja­panese while work­ing for an Amer­i­can ship­ping in­ter­est in the Philip­pines. He was im­pris­oned for nearly four years, and was fi­nally freed with 2,147 other pris­on­ers dur­ing a dar­ing raid by the 11th Air­borne Di­vi­sion.

The an­nual gath­er­ing of dec­o­rated mil­i­tary com­bat vet­er­ans, said to be among the largest in the coun­try, also saluted sev­eral of the great­est he­roes of World War II, Korea, Viet­nam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

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