Arkansas World War II veteran Taylor Nolen just turned 102 years old. The American hero was born in Faulkner County, Arkansas on Dec. 12, 1918.
The Naylor, Arkansas-native was the second man in Faulkner County to be drafted.
In an interview with THV11 News, Nolen recounted his experience.
"Well, I was pretty bad lonesome for awhile. I went across the United States, down to see the Panama Canal, and 43 days later we landed in Melbourne, Australia," Nolen said.
THV11 reports that Nolen became a staff sergeant and commanded a squad of a dozen troops in the South Pacific for four years. He then returned home to Arkansas.
"I was happy," Nolen said. "Really, really good to be home."
The year he returned home, Nolen met and married the love of his life. He and his wife were married for 70 years until she passed away in October of 2020.
"We never fussed. You know, you've got to love somebody or you don't marry them," Nolen told THV11.
Nolen's granddaughter, Terri Rice, says she looks up to her heroic and kind grandfather.
"He's always been a very caring and giving person. I just think the life that he lived was so filled with ups and downs and he came out on top."
According to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, 325,574 are alive in 2020.
Lawrence Brooks, believed to be the oldest living World War II veteran, turned 111 in September of 2020.
For more information on how to honor the legacy of World War II veterans, visit the National World War II Museum website.