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102-year-old WWII Pueblo Veteran honored by Department of Veteran Affairs

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- On November 6th, WWII Veteran Bill Barrett celebrated his 102nd birthday. For Veterans Day, Barrett reflected on his time in the Army and how the Department of Veterans Affairs sent him a plaque recognizing his service to the United States.

Barrett enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 at the beginning of World War II. Between 1942 and 1945, the Army took Barrett from Australia to Japan.

“In World War ll, I spent 44 months during the war and 38 months spent oversees all the way from Australia up to Okinawa, Japan," Barrett said. “I was a cryptographer, who does code work. Everything that came into our message center had to be in code, everything that went out had to be in code. It was our job to see that was done."

At a time when many others were forced to serve through the draft, Barrett said "send me."

"It was my duty. When the war started in December, in January I went and enlisted," Barrett said. "People were all shook up about it, and they wanted to do their part. The war was on and people were getting killed, you needed to do something to do your part."

However, he didn't serve for the glory. Barrett said he was surprised by receiving the plaque.

“I was really surprised to be recognized by my birthday and my service," Barrett said.

After serving until 1945, Barrett moved to Pueblo in 1957. Since then, he has called the Home of Heroes his home.

For the past eleven years, Barrett has worked in the gift shop at the Weisbrod Aircraft Museum. There, he runs the cash register and regularly greets guests at the front door.

Barrett will greet visitors who enter the gift shop doors by saying, "Well come on in, welcome to the museum today."

Many have asked Bill how he made it to 102-year-old. He'll usually respond with a simple motto.

"Being 90, I thought gee wiz I’ll never go much further than this. I think the main reason I have got to 102 is my life, the life I lived, and keeping busy. That's my motto, keep busy," Barrett said.

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Sean Rice

Sean is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

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