A Louisiana man who is the oldest surviving World War II man in the United States has marked his 112th birthday
As The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports, Lawrence Brooks celebrated Sunday with a drive-by party at his New Orleans home, hosted by the National World War II Museum. He also received congratulations from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who tweeted, “Mr. Brooks, the entire state of Louisiana thanks you for your service and we all wish you a very happy birthday.”
This year’s festivities included a jeep parade, a live performance of the museum’s vocal trio, and entertainment from New Orleans musicians. The city also recognized Brooks’ birthday with an official proclamation.
Born in Norwood, Louisiana in 1909, Brooks has lived in New Orleans since 1929. Formed in 1940, he was a private in the Army’s mostly black 91st Engineer Battalion, a unit that was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines and built such infrastructure. in the form of bridges, roads and airstrips.
After he threw barbed wire to save weight, he went into the cockpit. He told the pilot and co-pilot that since they were only with two parachutes, if he had to jump for it, he was going to catch one of them.
“Even though we made it,” he said with a laugh. “We had a lot of laughs about it.”