Jim “Pee Wee” Martin was 23 years old when he parachuted into Northern France with the “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne Division in the hours before the amphibious landings on the beaches of Normandy. On Thursday, Martin — now a spry 93 years old — recreated his famous wartime jump to mark the invasion’s 70th anniversary.
Speaking of his nighttime jump behind enemy lines on the eve of the invasion, Martin said, “Everybody [was] scared all the time, and if they tell you anything differently, they are full of crap.
“But you just do what you had to do regardless of it,” he added. “That’s the difference.”
When Martin was asked how his jump 70 years ago compared to this week’s, he replied, “It didn’t. There wasn’t anyone shooting at me today.”
After his commemorative jump, Martin told CNN, “I’m fine. It was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. What made me do it today? A little bit of ego, because I’m 93 and can still do it. Also because I want to show all the people that you don’t have to just sit and die because you get old. Keep doing things.”
Martin remains very active for a 93-year-old, even maintaining a YouTube channel, where he posts videos about his experiences during World War II, as well as his many speaking engagements.
“If I come back next year, I’ll make a jump next year. You can bet on it,” he said.