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America's oldest veteran and the world's oldest person celebrated his 115th birthday on August 21, 2006 in the Puerto Rico town of Isabela surrounded by family and well-wishers. Emiliano Mercado del Toro was a boy when the United States seized Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898. He entered the U.S. Army in 1918 and was based in Florida for training as World War l ended. Mercado was declared the world's oldest person by the Guinness Book of Records last year. He is the oldest of 18 living World War I U.S. veterans identified by VA during the past year.
VA continues to search for World War I veterans in preparation for national recognition of America's remaining Doughboys. If you know of a World War I veteran in your area, contact Chris Scheer, VA Office of Public Affairs, at email@example.com.