Alabama Public Radio | By Lynn Oldshue
PublishedNovember 11, 2022 at 5:00 AM CST
Today is Veteran's Day, but each year there are fewer World War II veterans to honor. In 2022, only 167,284 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive, reports the US Department of Veteran Affairs.
99-year-old Curtis Hass is still living in Mobile. He grew up on a farm in Sand Mountain, Alabama.
Drafted into the Army at age 18, Hass chose to serve in a medical battalion because he didn’t want to carry a gun. His first mission was the Battle of Normandy.
“I decided I wouldn't carry a gun," said Hass. “So, they sent me to Paris, Texas to learn how to be a paramedic and wrap elbows, fingers, and arms. The first month of the invasion of Normandy we had 2,700 tourniquets. There were eight of us.”
Hass told of the day General George Patton entered the medical tent.
“We were at the tent when Patton came in,” said Hass. “He said, ‘Don't salute me.’ He also said, ‘I love every one of you.’ We had seven over there on the cot. He leaned over and hugged their necks.”
Hass became one of the first Americans to enter Germany when his medical unit was sent to the Battle of Aachen. That was the first city on German soil to be captured by the Allies.
After the war, Hass moved to Mobile and had a career selling advertising for the Mobile Press-Register and volunteering in community organizations.
How many WWII veterans are still alive 2022? ›
In 2022, only 167,284 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive, reports the US Department of Veteran Affairs.How many us World War II veterans are still alive today? ›
About 70 million people fought in World War II and, as of 2022, there are still approximately 167,000 surviving veterans in the United States alone. Only people who are (or were) the last surviving member of a notable group of veterans are listed.How can I talk with a World War 2 veteran? ›
It is not difficult to find WWII veterans so just ask around, go to senior homes, or go to veteran groups (VFW,DAV,AL). If you cannot meet a veteran you can always talk to them over the phone. There is no reason why you should not become friends with these men.How old are the youngest ww2 vets? ›
Navy Veteran Calvin Leon Graham became the youngest World War II soldier at the age of 12, and the youngest recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.What was the oldest age drafted in WWII? ›
The Draft and WWII
On September 16, 1940, the United States instituted the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which required all men between the ages of 21 and 45 to register for the draft.
Compared to the U. S. population, the mortality rates of Veterans are higher at older ages, and the life expectancy of Veterans are estimated to be 0.7-0.9 life-years shorter for males, and to be 1.2-1.3 life-years shorter for female at age 25, 45, and 65.Who was the last ww2 Medal of Honor? ›
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The last WWII Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Hershel “Woody” Williams, laid in honor in the nation's capitol. Williams, who served in Iwo Jima, was one of 473 men who received the Congressional Medal of Honor following WWII.Who is the oldest ww2 vet alive? ›
Chronology. Reuben Sinclair is the current oldest veteran of World War II. Ethel Small is the current oldest female veteran of World War II.Who was the last ww2 Medal of Honor recipient dies? ›
Williams died June 29, 2022, in Huntington, W. Va. He was 98. Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died Wednesday at a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.How do you honor a war veteran? ›
Visit a military memorial, museum, or monument.
There are many military memorials, museums, and monuments throughout the United States. Take a day trip to one near you to learn about our military history or to pay your respects.
What are World War 2 veterans called? ›
(1) World War II veteran The term “World War II veteran” means a person who— (A) served during World War II— (i) in the active military, naval, or air service of the United States during World War II; or (ii) in the organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, while the forces ...What is the average age of a WWII veteran? ›
Their average age is 96.Who is the youngest ww2 vet still alive today? ›
John Tosh, the Director of the Texas Air Museum in San Antonio, Texas, is 87 and still going strong. He is a member of the Veterans of Underage Military Service, being only 15 or so when he enlisted in the U.S.Army. He didn't make it overseas before the war ended.What was the maximum age of soldiers in ww2? ›
The National Service (Armed Forces) Act imposed conscription on all males aged between 18 and 41 who had to register for service. Those medically unfit were exempted, as were others in key industries and jobs such as baking, farming, medicine, and engineering.At what age can you no longer be drafted? ›
The Selective Service System will start calling registered men ages 18-25 for duty. The men will be called in a sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. The men will be examined for mental, physical, and moral fitness for military service.Who was exempt from draft in ww2? ›
Conscientious objectors (CO) were recognized "based on religious training and belief" and not required to be members of historic peace churches. Some 50,000 men were granted CO status and offered a choice between noncombatant military duty or alternate service.Who Cannot be drafted? ›
The Vice-President of the United States, the Judges of the various Courts of the Untied States, the heads of the various executive departments of the Government, and the Governors of the several States. 2.What do veterans suffer from the most? ›
The three most common mental health concerns for veterans are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Learn more about these mental health concerns below. What is PTSD? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a common mental health disorder among veterans.Are veterans lonely? ›
Physiologist Karen Owoc, with Palo Alto Veterans Affairs, says loneliness by far is one of the biggest struggles for veterans, with nearly 44% reporting feeling lonely at least some of the time and just over 10% feeling that way a majority of the time.Do veterans age faster? ›
Initially, the duo conducted studies that showed major links between Veterans with PTSD and accelerated aging. Some of the former service members were in their early 30s, suggesting that relatively young Vets with PTSD have the potential to age fast and develop age-related health conditions.
How much money does a Medal of Honor recipient receive? ›
Read more about Kyle White's gallant and heroic actions. Medal of Honor recipients receive the following privileges and special benefits: A Special Medal of Honor pension of $1,619.34 (2023 rate) per month above and beyond any military pensions or other benefits for which they may be eligible.How much is a ww2 Medal of Honor worth? ›
These medals tend to change hands frequently and usually hold a current market value. In other words, their price is calculated based on how much a collector wants them. Nowadays, World War II medals can fetch as little as $5 to $10.
Hershel "Woody" Williams is literally one-of-a-kind. At the age of 97 he is the last living recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War II. But it's the way he's lived all those years since that really sets him apart.Who is the most decorated war vet? ›
Audie Murphy (1924–1971) was the most decorated soldier in US history, winning 24 medals from the Congressional Medal of Honor down.Are there any German soldiers alive from ww2? ›
Six thousand survived, returning to Germany after the war. Of them, 35 are still alive today. We visited ten of these veterans, to trace the memories of the battle in their faces and voices. In Russia we located a dozen surviving Red Army soldiers who had fought the Germans at Stalingrad.When did the last ww2 vet retire? ›
Vessey retired on September 30, 1985, several months before the expiration of his second term as Chairman. He was the last four-star World War II combat veteran on active duty and, with forty-six years of service, had served the longest of anyone then in the Army.Who is the oldest WWII Medal of Honor? ›
Hershel Williams, the last survivor among the 472 servicemen who were awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary bravery in World War II and the oldest living recipient of the medal, died on Wednesday in Huntington, W.Va. He was 98.Has anyone ever won 2 medals of honor? ›
Thomas Custer was the first soldier in U.S. history to be given two Medals of Honor for two distinct and separate acts of valor. During the Civil War, Custer was just 16 and lied about his age to enlist in the Union infantry before commissioning as a cavalry officer.Has a Medal of Honor ever been revoked? ›
Has anyone ever had their Medal of Honor rescinded or revoked? Yes. In 1916, Congress asked that all Medals awarded up to that point be reviewed to ensure that they met the high standards required for the award. As a result, 911 Medals of Honor were rescinded.What are three ways to honor veterans? ›
- Say “thank you!” ...
- Write an old-fashioned letter or send a care package. ...
- Treat a veteran to a meal. ...
- Offer to help with household chores. ...
- Make a commitment to volunteer. ...
- Donate to a cause that supports veterans. ...
- Invite a veteran to speak at your child's school. ...
- Support veteran-owned companies.
What are 3 ways to thank a veteran? ›
- Send a Care Package to an Active Service Person. ...
- Give a Veteran a Meal. ...
- Help Out Homeless Vets. ...
- Volunteer at a Veteran's Affairs (VA) Hospital. ...
- Write to a Veteran. ...
- Attend a Veterans Day Parade.
I am sincerely grateful for your service and sacrifice. Thank you for your service! I'm certain it comes with many sacrifices and I thank you and your family each and everyday. Words are not enough to express the gratitude I hold in my heart for our veterans.What are the 4 types of veterans? ›
Under VEVRAA, a veteran may be classified as a ''disabled veteran,'' ''recently separated veteran,'' ''active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran,'' or ''Armed Forces service medal veteran. ''What was the most common disease in ww2? ›
During WWII, morbidity from such diseases as tuberculosis (anti-tuberculosis agents did not begin to appear until 1949), rheumatic fever, hepatitis and tropical diseases was high and the prime reason for residual disability and time lost from duty.What benefits are WWII veterans entitled to? ›
World War II Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans. VA benefits include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial.Who is the oldest ww2 veteran Still Alive 2022? ›
Obituary. Lawrence Nathaniel “Honey” Brooks, the oldest known US WWII veteran at age 112, was born on September 12, 1909, in Norwood, LA. He departed this earthly home surrounded by his family on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.How old would a Vietnam vet be today? ›
Today, Vietnam Veterans range in age from 61 to 103 years old.How old would you be if you fought in Vietnam? ›
Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19. Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22.What is the oldest you can get drafted? ›
All men 18 years and older had to register with the Selective Service. All men between the ages of 18 to 25 were eligible to be drafted for a service requirement of 21 months.Whats the oldest a soldier can be? ›
- Coast Guard: 31.
- Marines: 28.
- Navy: 39.
- Army: 35.
- Air Force: 39.
- Space Force: 39.
Who was the oldest person to fight in ww2? ›
|Died||18 July 2009 (aged 113 years, 42 days) Ovingdean, East Sussex, England|
|Service/branch||Royal Navy Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||August 1915 – 16 April 1919|
Reuben Sinclair is the current oldest veteran of World War II.Is the 109 year old veteran still alive? ›
|Richard Arvin Overton|
|Born||May 11, 1906 Bastrop County, Texas, U.S.|
|Died||December 27, 2018 (aged 112 years, 230 days) Austin, Texas, U.S.|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The last WWII Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Hershel “Woody” Williams, laid in honor in the nation's capitol. Williams, who served in Iwo Jima, was one of 473 men who received the Congressional Medal of Honor following WWII.Who are the oldest World War 2 vets? ›
Army veteran Lawrence Brooks was believed to be the nation's oldest World War II veteran at the time of his death, Jan. 5, 2022, in New Orleans. Brooks was 112, and had for years been on the radar of record-keepers at the National World War II Museum, which is located in his hometown.What's the average age of a World War II veteran? ›
The average age of the United States soldier in World War II is estimated at 26 with the draft including all able-bodied men from 18 years of age to 45 years.What is the average age of World War II veterans? ›
Their average age is 96.