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Local war veteran celebrates 99th birthday

Posted at 8:20 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 23:34:15-04

On Friday afternoon, a special surprise birthday parade was held for a local World War II veteran. If you’ve ever been to the USS Lexington, you may have met him before.

Capt. Bob Batterson celebrated his 99th birthday with family, friends and the community on Friday. He stood outside of his home, while dozens drove by honking their horns, saluting the local veteran and singing ‘Happy Birthday.’

“I can’t believe that I’m 99 years old, but I feel the good Lord has kept me here for a reason,” he said.

Batterson served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years and flew F6F Hellcats during WWII. He’s a Pearl Harbor survivor who has now volunteered at the USS Lexington for the last 27 years and shared his stories as veteran.

“He walks up that pier on his own." said USS Lexington Executive Director Steve Banta. "He goes to his station at the Pearl Harbor exhibit, and talks to folks for four hours. He’s just an amazing individual.”

While Batterson was thankful for the community’s support and love today, many more were thankful for his service.

“Happy Birthday, Bob!" said USS Lexington colleague Victoria Lopez. "It means everything to us. He’s really special to our ship.”

“This is a gentleman who’s to be honored," said Phil Garcia. "He’s a great man; a survivor.”

“He’s a phenomenal man,” said Starla Shuck. “And it’s an amazing thing to be able to celebrate his life; for everything that he has done for his service and the country.”