Ben “Dad” Pennington was 56 when he became a Texas Ranger in 1917. A bit old, perhaps, but Pennington had 20 years of law enforcement experience and a cool demeanor. He was stationed near the border to fight off Mexican revolutionaries, and he saw his share of action in several battles. He lost an eye in one shootout.
Bullets couldn’t stop him; sickness did. In the fall of 1918, he was assigned to help keep order as officials fought a flu epidemic. He caught the illness and died on October 12.