Nation’s Oldest Living World War II Veteran Credits Whiskey For Longevity

At 107, Richard Overton is the oldest known living veteran of World War II, and he credits his daily whiskey for getting him there:

Veterans Day will be bit different for Richard Overton. The man believed to be the nation’s oldest living veteran spends most days smoking cigars and enjoying his whiskey. But today? He’s spending Veterans Day with President Obama.

Overton, 107, enjoys up to 12 cigars a day and likes to enjoy his morning coffee with a little whiskey, a beverage he credits in part with his long, healthy life. The Austin, Texas, resident still drives, walks without a cane and regularly attends church. He said he was taken aback when he got the invitation to the White House.

“The president wants me to come to him!” Overton said. “I’m surprised he called me.” On the day’s agenda: Breakfast with the president and vice president, and then attending the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.


Born in Texas in 1906, Overton didn’t join the Army until he was in his mid-30s, according to the General Land Office. He served in the South Pacific from 1942 to ’45, including tours in Hawaii, Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima. Once he left the service, he sold furniture and worked for the state treasurer’s office in Austin.

He has been interviewed over the years and earlier this yeartoldFox News that he made time each day for smoking cigars and drinking whiskey-stiffened coffee. (Be sure to check out the Fox story, as they have side-by-side pictures of the young, handsome Overton in his uniform, and how he looks today. Still handsome!)

Overton credits the whiskey for helping to keep his muscles loose and limber. Among his other health habits:

Overton stays busy with gardening and yard work and skips television, and he believes his cigar habit helps to alleviate stress. He has a girlfriend too. She’s in her 90s.

“Whiskey’s a good medicine,” he told Fox News. “It keeps your muscles tender.”

No word on whether Overton was able to get whiskey in his White House coffee this morning, I mean you really don’t want to mess with what works, do you?

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    What, no bacon?

  2. Franklin says:

    I’m coming to believe inflammation is the source of a lot of health issues. And a little alcohol is anti-inflammatory.

    But no, I can’t rationalize the cigars …

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hmmmmm, whiskey eh? There’s hope for me after all.

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Good grief. I thought everyone knew alcohol was a preservative.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Don’t forget the cigars.

  6. Scott says:

    I wonder if gin works as well. It did for the Queen Mum.

  7. CSK says:

    They should rename Old Overholt Old Overton in this man’s honor.

    Twelve cigars a day and a younger girlfriend? I salute you, sir, in more ways than one.

  8. Pinky says:

    I dunno. This is like “Nation’s Oldest Living Alcoholic Credits Getting Shot At By Germans”. The act doesn’t enhance your life expectancy any, but he’s lucky to have made it.