Frank Woodruff Buckles, who served on France's Western Front as an ambulance driver in 1918, died early Sunday at age 110. The Washington Post reports that, of the 65 million people who served in the World War I, only two people are known to be still alive: a 109 year old Austrian man and a 110 year-old British woman. Buckles was the last known American World War I veteran, identified in 2007 as one of the four known American survivors of the 4.7 million American servicemen.
WWI now joins the list of American wars where all known American servicemen have passed away. For context, the last veteran of the Spanish American War effort, Nathan Edward Cook age 106, was laid to rest in 1992. The last Civil War survivors appear to have passed away in the 1950's. With Buckles' death, American attention will surely turn to properly documenting the history of the dwindling ranks of WWII veterans. In 2010, Reuters reported that there were only 20 survivors left from Pearl Harbor's U.S.S. Arizona, and only five are healthy enough to travel.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.