U.S. D-Day paratrooper, 93, to jump again for anniversary

Thu Jun 5, 2014 10:37am EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Seventy years ago, Jim "Pee Wee" Martin parachuted into France, behind German enemy lines, ahead of the D-Day invasion.

This week, at the age of 93, the Ohio World War Two veteran is jumping into Normandy again to mark the anniversary of the June 6, 1944, sea-borne landings by Allied troops, although this time he will not be making the leap alone.

"They are making me do a tandem," Martin said in a telephone interview. "They are worried about me getting hurt. I said, 'Don't worry about it. If I get hurt or I get killed, what is the difference? I've lived 93 years. I've had a good life.'"

Martin said he was jumping now because he may be the last man from his unit of the 101st Airborne Division to ever do it again.

Martin, who lives near Dayton, said he will use a round canopy parachute like those in World War Two, which drop more quickly than modern parachutes. He is also taking one of his jump jackets from the war to France to display.

After the war, he worked in a tool shop until age 65.

A U.S. Veterans Affairs doctor cleared him to make the jump physically and pronounced him mentally fit, he said.

"You might ask some of my friends around here if they believe in that," Martin said. "Some of them think that I'm crazy."   Continued...