- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in a new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in a new window)
- Click here to share on LinkedIn (Opens in a new window)
- Click to email a friend (Opens in a new window)
(CNN) - A man who is believed to be the oldest living American who served during World War II celebrated his 110th birthday this Thursday at the National Museum of World War II in New Orleans.
Relatives, veterans and current members of the military service joined Lawrence Brooks in the museum, where they celebrated with cupcakes and a musical performance of the Victory Belles trio.
Born in 1909, Brooks served as a support worker in the 91st Army Engineers Battalion, a black majority unit stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines during the war. He reached the rank of first class soldier.
- 6 myths about the Normandy Landing
He was a servant of the white officers in the battalion, the museum said in a press release.
The supercentenary is the father of five children and five stepchildren.
World War II veteran Lawrence Brooks holds a picture of him taken in 1943.
He had an exciting approach to death
In an interview with the museum, Brooks told the story of traveling on a C-47 cargo plane from Australia to New Guinea. The plane was loaded with barbed wire, but "one of the engines went out," he said.
To lighten the plane, those on board threw much of the cargo into the ocean. Brooks threw the boxes of the plane as if his life depended on it: there were only enough parachutes on the plane for the pilot and the co-pilot.
Brooks said he joked with the pilot of the plane: "If he's going to jump, I'm going to grab him."
Fortunately, he did not have to resort to drastic measures.
"It was a scary moment," he said. "But we did it."
The Victory Belles singing group gives World War II veteran Lawrence Brooks a birthday card.
It is believed that Gustav Gerneth, who fought on the German side and was captured as a Russian prisoner of war, is the oldest World War II veteran. He is 113 years old.
In a statement, the executive president of the National World War II Museum, Stephen Watson, said Brooks' life and service were filled with the "stories of courage and determination" for which the museum exists.
Lawrence Brooks sports a lipstick kiss on his cheek while celebrating his 110th birthday at the National Museum of World War II.
World War II Second World War