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Lawrence Brooks, oldest U.S. veteran of WWII, dies at 112


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NBC News

Brooks, who served in the predominately Black 91st Engineer Battalion, is survived by five children, 13 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.

Doha Madani

Jan. 5 2022


Lawrence Brooks, with a photo of him taken in 1943, as he celebrates his 110th birthday at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, on Sept. 12, 2019. Brooks, the oldest World War II veteran in the U.S. — and believed to be the oldest man in the country — died Wednesday, at the age of 112.Gerald Herbert / AP file

The country's oldest surviving World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks, died Wednesday at the age of 112, according to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

Brooks, a Louisiana native and resident, was drafted in 1940 and served in the Army's 91st Engineer Battalion. His battalion was a predominately Black group of servicemen, due to the military's segregation practices at the time.


Instead, Brooks fell back into civilian life as a forklift operator until retiring his 70s. His wife, Leona, died in 2008. He is survived by five children, 13 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.

Over the years, Brooks has been celebrated as one of the oldest surviving WWII veterans. The National WWII Museum has hosted birthday parties for him for the past seven years.

The parties shifted to drive-by events at his New Orleans home in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic. The museum also started a birthday card writing campaign for Brooks in 2020, which it said generated 21,500 cards from nearly 30 countries.

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