By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2011 - Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last surviving American World War I veteran, died yesterday at his West Virginia home. He was 110.
Sixteen-year-old Buckles enlisted in the Army on Aug. 14, 1917 after lying to several recruiters about his age.
"I was just 16 and didn't look a day older. I confess to you that I lied to more than one recruiter. I gave them my solemn word that I was 18, but I'd left my birth certificate back home in the family Bible. They'd take one look at me and laugh and tell me to home before my mother noticed I was gone," Buckles wrote in 2009.
Buckles tried the Marines and Navy, but both turned him away. An Army recruiter, however, accepted his story.
"Somehow I got the idea that telling an even bigger whopper was the way to go. So I told the next recruiter that I was 21 and darned if he didn't sign me up on the spot!" he wrote.
Buckles earned the rank of corporal and traveled England and France serving as an ambulance driver. After the Armistice in 1918, Buckles escorted prisoners of war back to Germany. He was discharged in 1920.
In 1942 Buckles worked as a civilian for a shipping company in the Philippines, where he was captured in Manila by the Japanese the day after they attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He spent three and a half years in the Los Ba
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