Lawrence Brooks, the oldest living American veteran, passed away last Wednesday at the age of 112 following months of failing health. Brooks was drafted into the United States Army in 1940, completing his one year of mandatory service before he was discharged in 1941. However, he re-enlisted that same year following the attacks at PearlHarbor, serving until 1945 in the Pacific Theater while part of the (mostly) segregated 91st Engineer Battalion. During the war, Brooks took part in the supply line, construction, and maintenance operations while stationed in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines, reaching the rank of Private 1st Class. He was also a driver and personal cook for the officers of his unit.
After the war, he settled down, married, started a family, and worked as a forklift operator for over 40 years in Louisiana. Brooks lost his home during Hurricane Katrina, having to be rescued by a helicopter during the floods. A few years later he lost his wife, who passed away in 2008. Brook’s daughter, Vanessa, became his primary caretaker afterward, finding replacement medals and awards from his service that were lost during the flooding, as well as getting him an authentic reproduction World War II uniform with a unit badge. Brooks is survived by a large loving family of five children, 13 grandchildren, and 32 great-grandchildren. He will be buried in the uniform his daughter got him.