A Year Ago Today, We Lost America’s Oldest Living Vet

A year ago today, we lost Richard Overton. At 112 years of age, he was America’s oldest living Veteran.

Overton credited his health and longevity to smoking cigars, drinking whiskey and being able to defend himself and his country with firearms

I was fortunate enough to visit with Mr. Overton in 2017 at his home in Austin, Texas. He showed me some of the guns that he kept around the house for protection.

His go-to gun was a Browning Auto-5 12-gauge shotgun. It was almost as old as him. The Auto-5 was the first successful semi-automatic shotgun. It was produced from 1905 until 1998.

Overton’s favorite guns were his revolvers. He kept two of them by his bed.

The first was a Colt Police Positive chambered in .38. It’s an old one, probably around 1920s production, judging from the period Bakelite grip.

Richard Overton’s Colt Police Positive revolver in .38.

The second was a first-generation Colt Single Action with a 7.5-inch barrel in a very long cartridge, probably .32-20, judging from the cylinder flutes. However, the overall patina, ‘aged ivory’ orange grips and large base pin screw make it look like an Italian clone, possibly a Uberti Rooster. Safe to say, it is a Colt SAA or clone.

Richard Overton’s first generation Colt Single Action in .32-20.

Both were loaded, but neither had a round under the hammer. When asked if he liked revolvers, Overton answered, “Oh yeah. I don’t have one if it ‘ain’t loaded. I leave one of them things right there by my bed when I go to sleep.”

Overton was a true Patriot. He was proud and loved his country. God bless him. We remember him on this day.

Richard Overton with his Browning Auto-5 12-gauge shotgun. (Photo: Ben Philippi / Guns.com)

This article was syndicated from Guns.com Guns.com is a niche news web site that publishes original reporting on the wide range of topics within the gun world. We publish Monday through Saturday. Our approach is to explore the topic of guns through the widest lens possible, to deliver these findings as fairly and accurately as possible and to host the opinions and perspectives of our writers and readers as selflessly as possible, trying our best not to get in the way of our contributors. Our desire is to allow our writers and readers to tell their stories, no matter what the story is, as long as we believe a) it will benefit or interest gun owners and b) conforms to ethical journalistic methods and practices. Our headquarters are in Illinois but our contributors submit to us from across the United States — from Maine to California, from Texas to Alaska and every state in between.