LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Celebrating a special birthday with love and a sweet serenade, family and friends gathered to honor Art Raderer on his 103rd birthday on Saturday.

Raderer, who also survived the influenza pandemic of 1918 and 1919, expressed his joy at seeing his friends on this momentous day. “It’s well – it overwhelms me really, I don’t know why people do that but it’s always good to see all of your friends,” he said.

Born in Louisville in 1918, Raderer’s early life was marked by the loss of his father to tuberculosis in 1925, leaving his mother to raise him and his two brothers alone. A Manual High School graduate, Raderer was drafted into the Army in 1944.

He was deployed to the Philippines to join fellow troops for the planned invasion of Japan. However, the troop ship he was on broke down and had to be towed by a tugboat part of the way to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

The 1629th Engineer Construction Battalion eventually reached the Philippines, where they assisted with construction activities in Quezon City. Remarkably, Raderer and his two brothers were all in the Philippines simultaneously, although they served in different units.

The war ended before they were called to combat in Japan. Raderer then served as part of the U.S. occupation of Japan post-war, stationed near Yokohama.

Upon returning to the United States, Raderer served in the Kentucky Army National Guard for 19 years, retiring as a major.

In addition to the love and affection from his family and friends, strangers also stopped by the celebration to thank Raderer for his service.