Jackson County

WWII veteran gets a special surprise on his 100th birthday

The Patriot Guard Riders more often than not pay tribute to veterans at their funeral, but on Monday they got to honor one that was still alive and kicking.

James Lindsey of Vancleave was celebrating his 100th birthday on Monday and the riders wanted to make a fuss.

“We are very excited to be able to celebrate with him,” said Sandie Schlett, Assistant State Captain with the Riders.

Lindsey served with the Air Force during WWII. He called himself a “general flunky,” but he was really a convoy commander with an outfit that ran supplies overland in Alaska.

When he was later serving with the Mississippi National Guard, he drove one of the amphibious “ducks” rescuing people during Hurricane Camille in 1969.

“We made it,” through Camille, he said, and a whole lot more.

Lindsey retired as a senior master sergeant and was “on my own” after that.

He survived two wives, and at one point, in the 1960s, was the Chief of Auxiliary with the Ocean Springs Police Department.

As he waited for the Patriot Guard Riders to arrive, Lindsey said his life was “nothing special.”

“Most of it’s done passed by, I just can’t remember that too much.”

He did say that he hopes to make some more memories before his life is done.

He said his secret to a long life was simple. Take things “a day at a time, week by week. Whatever happens, it had to happen.”

“In a way, I’ve had my ups and downs. “It’s been a good life, and there’s been bad parts.

Whatever happens, I’ve more or less experienced most of it.”

After the motorcycles paraded by him, The Patriot Guard formed a column of flags and saluted him as he rode by in a cart. They saluted him and he returned the salute.

“Just think, I waited a hundred years to see all this,” he said.

John Fitzhugh: 228-896-2193, @JFitzhughPhoto