The oldest surviving World War II veteran, who served in a segregated Army unit in the South Pacific in the 1940s, died in his New Orleans home Wednesday morning at the age of 112.
Lawrence N. Brooks was part of the mostly black 91st Engineer General Service Regiment, which built roads, hospitals, and housing in places like Horn Island, Papua-New Guinea, and the Philippines, according to Military Times.
He was drafted in 1940 at the age of 31. He never saw combat, instead of working as a driver and cook for his white officers.
His death was announced by the National WWII Museum and confirmed by his daughter and caregiver, Vanessa Brooks. He is survived by five children, 13 grandchildren, and 32 great-grandchildren.
‘At 112 years old, he was the oldest surviving WWII veteran in the country,’ the museum wrote on Instagram. ‘More than that, he was a dear friend, who celebrated his birthday with us every year starting in 2014, when he was just a spry 105-year-old.