Meet America's oldest-living veteran: 108-year-old whiskey-drinking, cigar-smoking Richard Overton

Richard Overton (Jack Plunkett/AP Images)
Richard Overton (Jack Plunkett/AP Images)

Richard Overton, America's oldest living veteran, participated in the Veterans Day parade in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, posing for selfies from the passenger seat of a slow-moving car along the parade route.

Chances are, the 108-year-old World War II veteran began the day like any other: on the porch, smoking a cigar, sipping a cup of coffee stiffened with whiskey.

“I drink whiskey in my coffee. Sometimes I drink it straight,” Overton told CNN last fall. “I smoke my cigars, blow the smoke out — I don’t swallow it.”

Overton, who was born on May 11, 1906, in Bastrop County, Texas, served three years in the U.S. Army, with stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima.

Nicole Walls, 17, takes a selfie with Richard Overton, 108, during the Veterans Day parade in Austin, Nov. 11, 2014. (AP/Austin American-Statesman)
Nicole Walls, 17, takes a selfie with Richard Overton, 108, during the Veterans Day parade in Austin, Nov. 11, 2014. (AP/Austin American-Statesman)

According to the Austin American Statesman, the centenarian still lives in the house he bought when he returned from World War II, still drives an old Ford truck and a Chevy Monte Carlo and still helps "transport widows to church." He was formally recognized as the oldest-living veteran last year.

"It makes me feel pretty good," Overton said at the time. "It makes me think I've done something right. If I'd done something wrong, I wouldn't be here."

Last Veterans Day, Overton traveled to Washington, D.C., where he was honored by President Barack Obama at an event at Arlington National Cemetery.

“When the war ended, Richard headed home to Texas to a nation bitterly divided by race,” President Obama said. “And his service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home. But this veteran held his head high. He carried on and lived his life with honor and dignity.”

In May 2013, Overton was asked by a local television reporter how long he expected to live. "Whatever God gives me. If he gives me 10 more years, I hope I'll be able to take it," Overton said. "If he gives me 5, I hope I'll be able to take it."

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