(KOVR/CNN/Meredith) -- The country's oldest living Marine is celebrating a big birthday, turning 105 years old.

Not even the pandemic would cancel a drive-by birthday party for Major Bill White. Friends and family drove by his residence at the Oaks at Inglewood, an assisted living facility in Stockton, California.

Tony Walker, the communications director at the Oaks at Inglewood, explained White’s impressive Marine background.

“He was in Shanghai before WWII and the Japanese invasion and all that,” Walker said. “Iwo Jima got hit, [and he was] blown up with a grenade. Recovered from that. Spent a total of 30 years in the Marine Corps. Just an amazing guy.”

For his family members -- who haven't been able to visit much because of coronavirus -- this celebration is nothing short of remarkable.

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

Back in February, White became a local celebrity when he asked for Valentine’s Day cards and received more than 500,000 of them, including special notes from NASA and President Donald Trump.

White is now enjoying his time as the oldest living Marine, saying 105 feels “just as good as 104” and that he is now trying to make it to 106.

White said one of his secrets to longevity is that he keeps his mind sharp by reading.

Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.