Buckles enlisted in the Army at 16 after lying about his age.
Frank Woodruff Buckles (February 1, 1901 – February 27, 2011), born Wood Buckles, was the last surviving American veteran of World War I. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1917 and served with a detachment from Fort Riley, driving ambulances and motorcycles near the front lines in Europe.
During World War II, he was captured by Japanese forces while working in the shipping business, and spent three years in the Philippines as a civilian prisoner. After the war, Buckles married in San Francisco and moved to Gap View Farm near Charles Town, West Virginia. A widower at age 98, he worked on his farm until the age of 105.
In his last years, he was Honorary Chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation. As chairman, he advocated the establishment of a World War I memorial similar to other war memorials in Washington, D.C.. Toward this end, Buckles campaigned for the District of Columbia War Memorial to be renamed the National World War I Memorial. He testified before Congress in support of this cause, and met with President George W. Bush at the White House.
Buckles was awarded the World War I Victory Medal at the conclusion of that conflict, and the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal retroactively following the medal’s creation in 1941, as well as the French Legion of Honor in 1999. His funeral was on March 15, 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors.