NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — When Milton Chatelain arrived for a check-up at the Northeast Las Vegas VA Clinic July 13, 2020, he was greeted with balloons and streamers, celebratory banners, and dozens of VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System staff members welcoming him with a song.
Of course, this was no ordinary day for the World War II U.S. Navy veteran, it was his 100th birthday.
The newly minted centenarian was grateful for the warm welcome, and excited to show off some dance moves for family and friends. While everyone in attendance adhered to physical distancing and universal masking requirements, the celebration included cupcakes, a card signed by VASNHS staff, and presentation of a challenge coin from VASNHS Executive Director William J. Caron.
Born in New Orleans July 13, 1920, Chatelain enlisted in the Navy in August 1942 after serving in the Civil Conservation Corps. While in the Navy, he served as a Gunner’s Mate Second Class aboard a dozen vessels during the war. His tour of duty in the Pacific theater took him from California to Australia to the Sea of Japan. “I just loved the Navy, they treated me so good. All the things I went through, I was very lucky,” he said.
Following his military service, Chatelain spent several years with the Merchant Marines. In the 1947, he settled in Long Beach, Calif., where he married, had three children, and worked as a tanker truck driver for Mobil Oil until his retirement in 1982. He and his family moved to Las Vegas to enjoy retirement. He eventually enrolled in health care with the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, where he still gets his care.
Chatelain attributes his longevity to more than just good genes. “I live a good life,” he said enthusiastically. “I eat good. I sleep good, and I go to see my beautiful doctors and nurses.”
For his care team at the Northeast Primary Care Clinic, Chatelain is one of their favorite patients. “He is incredibly funny and an absolute joy,” said Kim Foote, his Primary Care nurse. “I am delighted and honored to have the pleasure of being his nurse. At 100, he is a very healthy and independent Veteran.”
So with the care from his VA team along with his active lifestyle, Chatelain has no plans of slowing down any time soon. “I want to live to be 150 years old,” he said.