'I didn't know I'd be the No. 1': 107-year-old is last WWI veteran | MassCops

'I didn't know I'd be the No. 1': 107-year-old is last WWI veteran

Discussion in 'Military News' started by kwflatbed, May 26, 2008.

  1. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed MassCops Angel Staff Member

    May 26, 2008


    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last known living American-born veteran of World War I, was honored Sunday during Memorial Day weekend celebrations.
    ''I had a feeling of longevity and that I might be among those who survived, but I didn't know I'd be the No. 1,'' the 107-year-old veteran said at a ceremony to unveil his portrait.
    His photograph was hung in the main hallway of the National World War I Museum, which he toured for the first time, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States presented him with a gold medal of merit.
    Buckles, who now lives in Charles Town, W.Va., has been an invited guest at the Pentagon, met with President Bush in Washington, D.C., and rode in the annual Armed Forces Day Parade in his home state since his status as one of the last living from the ''Great War'' was discovered nearly two years ago.
    Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles was rejected by the Marines and the Navy when he went to enlist in 1917.
    He eventually convinced an Army captain he was 18 and enlisted, telling him that Missouri didn't keep public records of births.
    Buckles sailed for England in 1917 on the Carpathia, which is known for its rescue of Titanic survivors, and spent his tour of duty working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk in Germany and France.
    He rose to the rank of corporal and after Armistice Day he helped return prisoners of war to Germany.

  2. KozmoKramer

    KozmoKramer Administrator Staff Member

    Wow. The last one. God bless him.
  3. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    How time flies....when I was a kid, WWII vets were everywhere and the Vietnam vets were young men. Now the WWII vets are dying off and the Vietnam vets are at retirement age.
  4. rg1283

    rg1283 MassCops Member

    Its hard to believe that about 1200 WWII veterans die EVERYDAY. This shows the shear magnitude of the number of service man and women involved in WWII. 1 WWI veteran left. Wow
  5. KozmoKramer

    KozmoKramer Administrator Staff Member

    And sadly RG, much of our culture and patriotism dies off with them.
    What I wouldn't give for an America that valued America like they did in 1944.
  6. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed MassCops Angel Staff Member

    WWII Vet Recounts Remarkable Story Of Survival

    [​IMG] Ted Raczynski recalls his remarkable story of survival and the remarkable sacrifices made by his fellow World War II soldiers.

    WORCESTER (WBZ) ― The clarity of the morning sky brought back clear visions of that day 66 years ago for Ted Raczyski as he sat in his Red Sox cap on the patio of Tatnuck Park at Worcester.

    "You know it was a nice day," remarked Ted, who is a fit 87 years old.

    Monday was a nice day, too. The sounds of peace infiltrated the burial ground of wars past, blossoms above graves in the north end of Worcester, where Ted Raczynski grew up, replaced explosions over troops bound for the North African invasion.

    "They're all screaming and flapping and so forth. It was unbelievable," recalled Ted.

    A german u-boat had hit Ted's troop transport ship, the USS Hugh Scott, with two torpedoes. Fifty-nine hands were lost. The sinking ship threatened to suck others under water.

    "And we were trying to survive. So I just swam away. I floated, swam, floated. For some reason, I think I hit a current. I went further out than I realized." Another ship rescued Ted. "I knew I was only a speck in the water. They saw me and took me to a nearby ship."

    That was the U.S.S. Florence Nightingale and Ted was re-assigned to that ship for the balance of the war.

    That blessing led to four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild for Ted who went on to a successful career as a toolmaker and engineer.

    But this day, Ted still remembers the shipmates he lost in 1942. "You know, you have flashbacks. You don't forget. You don't forget."

    After Ted came home, many of his childhood neighbors never did. A plaque honoring gold star families stands in their neighborhood at the corner of North and Grove Streets.

    While many bad things happened in the so-called "good war," and while Ted Raczynski still thinks about some of those bad things, he spent a good day with his family thinking about the good life he helped preserve for them and us.


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