WWII Vet Celebrates 101st Birthday in Dallas

Capt John "Lucky" Luckadoo with DFC and Air Medal | Image by Matt Mabe/100th Bomb Group Foundation

World War II veteran John “Lucky” Luckadoo has no doubt seen a lot in his 101 years. The fact that he’s still around to share his story gave Luckadoo and his loved ones all the more reason to celebrate his recent 101st birthday.

The veteran celebrated his birthday at Presbyterian Village North, his senior living community in Dallas. Around 60 people attended the party, including Luckadoo’s friends and family, as well as other residents of the facility.

Luckadoo, whose birthday was March 16, is the last living pilot of the World War II 8th U.S. Air Force 100th Bomb Group.

Despite Luckadoo’s nickname, his group had a reputation for being extremely unlucky.

The group was nicknamed the “Bloody Hundredth” due to the number of men the group lost in battle. During its first mission, it lost three planes and thirty men.

Within the group’s nearly two-year-long run from June 1943-April 1945, it ran 8,630 missions and lost 732 airmen and 177 aircraft. Luckadoo flew 25 missions during his tour, according to the official website of the 100th Bomb Group Foundation.

His biography, Damn Lucky: One Man’s Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History, co-authored by New York Times bestselling author Kevin Maurer, was released in April 2022.

Luckadoo was one of 16 million Americans who served in World War II. In 2022, 167,284 of those veterans were still living. That year, the National WWII Museum New Orleans released projections for the survival of WWII veterans.

According to the predictions, an estimated 180 WWII veterans die each day. The organization estimated that by 2026, there will be around 40,000 surviving WWII veterans. By 2029, that number will drop to just more than 10,000. By 2034, the number of surviving WWII veterans is expected to dip to around 1,000.

In 2022, there were 8,200 surviving WWII veterans who lived in Texas.

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