JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Tri-Cities World War 2 veteran continues to prove he’s a survivor.
Tab Torbett of Piney Flats made it through the thick of battle in a march across Europe to defeat the Nazis. On Friday, he turned 101 years old.
Torbett was the guest of honor at a birthday party Friday at Brookdale Johnson City Senior Living. The theme of the party was “The Roaring 20’s”, a nod to the decade in which he was born. Torbett said he’s amazed to have made it this far.
“It feels real good,” he said during a break in the birthday party fun.
Torbett worked most of his life in the family greenhouse business and now helps tend the courtyard garden at Brookdale where he uses his expertise.
“I don’t feel like I’ve got a big burden on me,” he said. “I like to get up and go to work. That’s what I do – tomatoes. I work out of my wheelchair.”
Almost 80 years ago, Torbett’s daily life was dramatically different. He was wearing out his Army-issued boots in a dangerous mission across Europe, much of it spent helping fire a Howitzer gun toward retreating German troops.
After being drafted, Torbett was assigned to the 102nd Infantry Division. He landed in Le Havre, France just days after the Normandy invasion. He was part of the legendary Red Ball Express moving equipment across Europe to the advancing front line and chasing the retreating German Army all the way to the Battle of the Bulge.
“I really appreciate it to be a veteran, to defend our country,” he said in an interview earlier this year. “I’m very proud to be a USA veteran.”
News Channel 11 recently featured him in the weekly “Veterans Voices” series.