A 93-year-old D-Day veteran jumped Friday in the skies over Normandy to mark 70 years since he first deployed as part of the world’s largest invasion force.
CNN featured Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, an original member of the 101st Airborne, a paratropper division dropped behind enemy lines just hours before the land invasion of northern France.
“Everybody (was) scared all the time, and if they tell you anything differently they are full of crap,” the former paratrooper recalled. “But you just do what you had to do regardless of it. That’s the difference.”
While he served overseas, Martin fought in Operation Market Garden, which freed the Netherlands from Nazi rule, and the Battle of the Bulge, a major counteroffensive that saw the 101st Airborne, including Martin, surrounded in the French town of Bastogne. World War II ended while he was in Berchtesgaden, the site of Hitler’s famed “Eagle’s Nest.”
If the plot sounds familiar, it is. Martin, who served in G Company, took a similar route through Europe as E Company, the focus of the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.”
On Friday, Martin, one of the few surviving members of the D-Day jump, again leaped from a plane over Normandy.
“It didn’t (compare),” Martin said, “because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me.”
Martin landed safely and with a smile on his face.
“I’m feeling fine,” Martin told reporters moments after landing in a French field. “… It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”
Martin, who lives in Ohio, said he plans to make the jump again should he be in Normandy next year. He plans to keep people updated via his Facebook page.
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier