XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) — Local WWII paratrooper Jim “Pee Wee” Martin celebrated his centennial birthday Saturday with a Jump Fest.
The celebration was held at Skydive Greene County and hosted by W&R Vets in honor of the WWII paratrooper’s service.
The event featured the recently restored C-47 “That’s All, Brother” and C-53 “D-Day Doll,” both owned and operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). Both aircraft honored Martin with a mass parachute drop.
There were also pop-up exhibits and shops, as well as photo opportunities with the birthday boy. Along with WWII demonstration teams, the U.S. Army 101st, 82nd Airborne Divisions and Golden Knights took part.
Martin was a member of the Screaming Eagles division and parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The Screaming Eagles were among the first Allied soldiers to set foot in occupied France.
Martin earned the nickname “Pee Wee” because of his small stature.
“It’s overwhelming, and to see all these people are that interested- I mean, it’s just unbelievable,” exclaims Martin.
Governor Mike DeWine also showed up to wish Martin a very happy birthday. The other Screaming Eagles who joined Martin Saturday included 97-year-old Bob Izumi, 99-year-old Tom Rice, 97-year-old Dan McBride, 98-year-old Dick Klein and 96-year-old Vincent J. Speranza.
The Jump Fest served as a tribute to all members of the Screaming Eagles who helped free Europe from the Nazis in WWII.