WWII Veteran Turns 100 on Veterans Day

INDIANOLA, Iowa  --  An Iowa man turned 100 years old on Saturday, and it was a chance for his family to come together to celebrate both his birthday and Veterans Day.

Jack Richards was born in 1917 and served in the Navy and Marines during WWII. Over the course of his 100 years, Richards has been healthy, only being hospitalized three times.

The Navy uniform Richards wore during WWII hangs as decoration at his 100th birthday celebration.

“How it makes me feel, it makes me feel great having all this friends and family,” he said.

Richards' family was glad they could come together to celebrate both special events on the same day.

“It’s pretty amazing, it’s pretty special that we can honor him on his 100 birthday as a veteran on Veterans Day."

There was no birthday cake at this party, but there was trip down memory lane. Richards and his fellow veterans were recounting the night the Japanese Military surrendered in 1945 during WWII.

“The first time, we had a party, didn't we, Jack," laughed veteran Rex Shoop. "We broke into the beer coolers and he was there the next day, and that’s when they really surrendered then."

It was hard for Richards to piece together that night and to put into words just how special this celebration was to him.

“I am a man of few words. I can’t make speeches, I don’t like to make speeches, I like to have a good time," he said.

Others describe Richards as much more than that.

“Jacks always been the clown of the outfit.”

“My dad was kind of always for the underdog, it kind of always gave me that compassionate heart for that person who might not have what you have," said Judy McKain, Richards' daughter.

Growing up, T.J Richards said his dad didn't talk too much about what he experienced during the war.

“What I do know, is back then it was called a pharmacist mate. He was there after the fighting most the time and took care of the soldiers," he said.

Family members say the thing Richards enjoys the most is being honored and recognized for his service alongside with all the other men and woman who continue to fight for our country.