Oldest living WWII veteran celebrates 110th birthday in New Orleans

A man considered to be the nation's oldest living World War II veteran was serenaded and showered with kisses during a celebration of his 110th birthday at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Lawrence Brooks was born Sept. 12, 1909, and served in the predominantly African American 91st Engineer Battalion stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines. He was a servant to three white officers and his daily routine included cleaning their sheets and uniforms and shining their shoes.

Brooks attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war.

Museum President and CEO Stephen Watson said Brooks is the nation's oldest living WWII veteran. Watson was among the speakers at Brooks' birthday celebration Thursday, which included a serenade of "Happy Birthday" by the museum's singing trio, the Victory Belles.


Born Sept. 12, 1909, Lawrence Brooks served in the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of The National WWII Museum)

“The Museum’s mission is to tell the important stories of the men and women who served in World War II,” Watson said. “We are honored to celebrate Lawrence Brooks, whose life and service are filled with such stories of bravery and determination.”

Brooks was married to the late Leona B. Brooks and is the father of five children and five step-children.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.