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Last Wounded U.S. WWI Veteran Dies at 108

AnyMal

Lifer
Nov 21, 2001
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Article

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Alfred Pugh, the last known combat-wounded U.S. veteran of World War I, has died. He was 108, just 10 days short of his 109th birthday, when he died Wednesday.

Pugh, who often told visitors the key to a long life is "keep breathing," joined the Army in 1917 and fought in France during World War I with the 77th Infantry Division. In 1918, he was wounded during the Meusse-Argonne offensive, one of the war's bloodiest battles.

He died at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Bay Pines. VA officials said he was the oldest wounded combat veteran in the United States, and one of fewer than 1,000 remaining American World War I veterans.

Friends said he loved the attention that came with being known as the oldest wounded combat veteran in the United States. "It tickled him when the classes would come by the busload to see him," said Pugh's niece Carolyn Layton.

Born Jan. 17, 1895, in Everett, Mass., Pugh raised 16 foster children, played the organ into his 100s and was an avid football and baseball fan.

He is one of 10 veterans profiled in the book, "The Price of their Blood," published last month and co-authored by Jesse Brown, former U.S. secretary of Veterans Affairs.

He spoke French and was used overseas as an interpreter until the battle in the Argonne forest, when he inhaled mustard gas that left him unconscious and with chronic laryngitis.

"It was like a fog," Pugh said in an interview in 2002. "... We didn't get any gas masks until the day after it happened."

After the war he returned to Maine and worked as a railroad telegraph operator for 12 years before delivering mail for 26 years. He came to Florida in 1971.

In 1999, he was named chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, a prestigious medal bestowed by the French government.

R.I.P :(
 

Ausm

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
25,215
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I would have loved to have met that guy...a walking history book!!


Sysadmin
 

OutHouse

Lifer
Jun 5, 2000
36,423
615
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Originally posted by: Sysadmin
I would have loved to have met that guy...a walking history book!!


Sysadmin
me too. My grandfather fought in WWI and was in 5 battles according to his discharge papers that I have. I would have loved to talk to this guy to get a better prespective of WWI from sombody who was there.
 

Lynx516

Senior member
Apr 20, 2003
272
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Shame. Us Brits have about 100 WW1 vets left. Though we did get hit quite hard over the 4 years of the war. My Great Grandfather suffered head injuries at the First day of the Somme which he recived from a shell the obliterated his best friend (one of 60,000 men to die that day) who was standing next to him. It was a pointless war.
 

Gulzakar

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
3,074
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All war is pointless...but if your relatives didn't fight, your national language would probably be German right now.
 

Ausm

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
25,215
13
81
Originally posted by: Gulzakar
All war is pointless...but if your relatives didn't fight, your national language would probably be German right now.
Japenese or Russian could also be a possibility.


Sysadmin
 

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