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Oldest US veteran turns 109 (and still smokes like a trooper)

Richard Overton fought in World War II.

THE OLDEST-LIVING AMERICAN veteran turns 109 today – and still smokes 12 cigars a day.

Richard Overton, an Army veteran of World War II now living in Austin, Texas, still enjoys a drop of whiskey too.

His Austin neighbourhood threw him an early birthday party on May 3, consisting of burgers, milkshakes, and of course cigars.

“I smoke at least 12 Tampa Sweet cigars a day,” Overton told The Wall Street Journal, and told ABC he has been smoking cigars since he was 18.

A celebrity in his own right, Overton had a long line of well-wishers attend his “Mighty Fine at 109″-themed celebration. Among the guests was the mayor of Austin, Steve Adler.

Mr-_Overton_2013-08-07_15-58 Source: Wikimedia

“You are just one of the treasures that we have in this city,” Adler told Overton during the celebrations.

Born May 11, 1906, Overton is believed to be the oldest-living veteran, although it is impossible to verify because not all veterans are registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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He served in the South Pacific during the war before selling furniture in Austin after his discharge and later working in the state Treasurer’s Office, according to The Chronicle.

“I’ve gotten so many letters and so many thank yous and I enjoy every bit of it, but I’m still going to enjoy some more,” Overton told The Chronicle.

The Houston Chronicle described Overton’s lifestyle in November 2013:

He drives and walks without a cane. During a television interview in March, he told a reporter that he doesn’t take medicine, smokes cigars every day and takes whiskey in his morning coffee. The key to living to his age, he said, is simply ‘staying out of trouble’.

“I may drink a little in the evening too with some soda water, but that’s it,” Overton told Fox News.

Whiskey’s a good medicine. It keeps your muscles tender.

Overton admits that he doesn’t truly know what to credit with his long life. “You have to ask God about that. He brought me here and he’s taking care of me, and nothing I can do about it,” Overton told the Post.

However, his neighbours have a few ideas of their own as to how Overton keeps chugging along.

“Whiskey and cigars and never stop moving,” a neighbor told Fox affiliate KTBC.

In addition to his somewhat unorthodox habits, Overton stays busy throughout the day — trimming trees, helping with horses, and never watches television, according to Fox.

- Jeremy Bender. Additional reporting by Paul Szoldra.

Read: Misao Okawa lived through man’s first flight, two world wars and the moon landing >

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