By Nicole Darrah
Published September 15, 2019
Brooks, born on Sept. 12, 1909, was honored on Thursday at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Spotted with a bright lipstick kiss on his cheek at the event, Brooks served in the 91st Engineer Battalion stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines — a predominately African-American unit of the U.S. Army.
The 110-year-old, who served between 1940 and 1945, was a servant to three white officers and his daily routine included cleaning their sheets and uniforms and shining their shoes. He attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war.
Brooks' newfound title comes after the death of Richard Overton, previously the oldest living WWII veteran. Formerly a member of the U.S. Army, Overton died in December at age 112.
The museum has been celebrating Brooks' birthdays since his 105th, in 2014, according to The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate.
“We absolutely love Mr. Brooks,” the museum's vice president, Peter Crean, told the news outlet. “We’ve told him, 'As long as you keep having birthdays, we are going to keep having birthday parties for you here.'"
“We consider him ‘our veteran,'" Crean said.
Brooks, who uses a walker, is blind in one eye and has poor vision in the other. He does suffer from low blood pressure and dehydration, but his hearing, however, is good, and he's never suffered from any major diseases or cancers.
“I’ve started to think about not having many birthdays left. But I’m not worried about it, because God has let me live this long already," Brooks said. “I think it’s because I’ve always liked people so much. Oh yes, I do.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.