World War II veteran Jim “Pee Wee” Martin belonged to the 101st Airborne Division that parachuted into Normandy on the evening of June 5, 1944, just ahead of the D-day landing. He did that same jump again 70 years later, which you might expect to be difficult now that Martin is 93 years old. But to Martin, this time around was easier.
“It didn’t (compare),” Martin said, “because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me today.”
Martin did not jump alone. And he is used to being the oldest paratrooper.
It’s ironic, in a sense, because Martin was among the oldest of his bunch in June 1944 — at 23 years old — surrounded by others who were mere teenagers.
Together, they parachuted onto France’s northern coast in the dark of night not knowing what awaited them. Whatever it was, it would not be friendly or easy, they expected.
“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.”
Learn more about Martin and his experiences both as a paratrooper in World War II and as a veteran at his Facebook page.