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Retired Marine 1st Lt. John J. O'Leary recently celebrated his 100th birthday at the Evergreen Community of Johnson County, Olathe, Kan.

O'Leary is one of a fraction of the more than 16 million Americans who served in World War II still alive today.

He joined the Marine Corps following the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

He was assigned to lead a shore beach party with the 3rd Joint Assault Signal Company.

In June 1944, he fought to retake the island of Guam from the Japanese. He later witnessed the bombing of Iwo Jima from his troop's ship.

"I had to become a good ducker," O'Leary said. "I spent a year and a half on Guam. That's a long time. I have a lot of memories."

O'Leary's birthday coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Marine Corps Reserve, established by President Woodrow Wilson on Aug. 29, 1916.

"The Marine Corps is a great organization," O'Leary said. "It's full of a lot of dedicated individuals. I'm very proud of my time as a Marine."


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