Some 270,000 World War II vets died in 2011, an average of 740 a day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Another 248,000 are projected to die this year.
The United States lost 270,000 World War II veterans last year and one veteran of World War I.
Frank Buckles, 110, of West Virginia was our last surviving serviceman from "The War to End All Wars," fought from April 1917 to November 1918.
America won't mark the passing of its last World War II vet until well into the 2030s, or even the decade after that.
Work the math. The war officially ended with Japan's formal surrender on Sept. 2, 1945. Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Phil Budahn notes "there were a number of underage servicemen who went off and did their bidding" in the war. That means a 17-year-old who served at the tail end of hostilities would be 84 now. And if that 84-year-old is blessed with Frank Buckles-style genes and robust health, he'll be turning 110 in 2038.
Taking into consideration lengthening life expectancies, the VA expects World War II veterans to be around for a while. The agency projects that 370 will be alive on Sept. 30, 2036 91 years after the end of the war.
Here is when the last surviving U.S. veterans of past wars died:
Revolutionary War: April 5, 1869, age 109
Civil War, Union: Aug. 2, 1956, age 109
Civil War, Confederate: March 16, 1958, age 112
Spanish-American War: Sept. 10, 1992, age 106
World War I, Feb. 27, 2011, age 110
The World War II veteran population 2.91 million on Sept. 30, 2007 will fall below 1.5 million this year. That is less than one-tenth of the 16 million who served.