NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – One of the oldest living WWII veterans in the region celebrated his 107th birthday today at the National World War II Museum.
Lawrence Brooks was born Sept. 12, 1909 and served in the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. He was a servant to three white officers in his battalion.
His daily routine included cleaning the officers’ sheets, shining their shoes, making sure their uniforms were clean and accomplishing any task these officers asked of him. Brooks attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war.
Brooks, who worked as a forklift operator until he retired in 1974, was 95 years old when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. He and his wife had to be rescued from their roof by helicopter.