VA searching for last doughboys of World War I; only four believed alive

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
From the Department of Veteran's Affairs

WASHINGTON -- With the number of known living American veterans of World War I now standing at four, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking public assistance in determining whether others are still alive.

"These veterans have earned the gratitude and respect of the nation," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. "We are coming to the end of a generation that helped bring the United States to the center of the international arena."

Nicholson noted that VA usually knows about the identity and location of veterans only after they come to the Department for benefits. None of the four known surviving World War I veterans has been on the VA benefits rolls.

The Secretary asks members of the general public who know of a surviving World War I veteran to contact VA. To qualify as a World War I veteran, someone must have been on active duty between April 6, 1917 and Nov. 11, 1918. VA is also looking for surviving Americans who served in the armed forces of allied nations.

Information about survivors can be e-mailed to [email protected]; faxed to 202-273-6702, or mailed to the Office of Public Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs (80), 810 Vermont Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20420.

About 4.7 million men and women served in the U.S. armed forces during World War I. About 53,000 died in combat, with another 204,000 wounded.

The four known surviving World War I veterans are John Babcock, 102, from Puget Sound, Wash.; Frank Buckles, 106, Charles Town, W.Va.; Russell Coffey, 108, North Baltimore, Ohio; and Harry Landis, 107, Sun City Center, Fla.

Babcock is an American who served in the Canadian Army. The other three survivors were in the U.S. Army.

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