Marine who survived the Battle of Iwo Jima celebrates 105 birthday

STOCKTON, Calif. — A World War II veteran who earned a Purple Heart at the Battle of Iwo Jima just celebrated his 105th birthday.

Bill White celebrated his 105th birthday Friday with a socially distant drive-by parade.

A familiar face out of Stockton celebrated a major milestone Friday. Major Bill White, the oldest living Marine, turned 105.

Posted by CBS13 CBS Sacramento on Friday, July 31, 2020

The Oaks at Inglewood organized the celebration for White, which included a California Highway Patrol cruiser in the procession.

His family members have not been able to visit much because of COVID-19, according to KOVR.

“It’s very heartwarming ... and it does get to you that there are so many people that love him and appreciate him for his service,” Bill’s daughter Mary Huston told KOVR.

White rose to the rank of major during his 30-year career in the U.S. Marines. The California native enjoys scrapbooking and collecting, KTXL reported.

In January, White gained national attention when a Valentine’s card request, submitted via social media, garnered over 300,000 cards, letters and gifts according to The Record.

The most prized possession White has is the Purple Heart he won for his actions on March 3, 1945, at Iwo Jima.

“The fact that I even survived is something. There weren’t too many of us,” White told KTXL. “When I was wounded, I didn’t have any choice in the matter. A grenade blew up about six inches from me.”

“Right now I’m trying for 106. One at a time,” White told KOVR.