93-year-old Jim Martin yesterday successfully parachuted into Normandy wearing all the same equipment he wore 70 years ago when he jumped as part of the preliminary bridgehead seizing operations leading up to the D-Day Normandy Invasion.
“I’m feeling fine,” Martin told reporters moments after landing in a French field. “… It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”
Martin was part of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division that parachuted down over Utah Beach in their bid to retake France and, eventually, the rest of Europe from Nazi Germany. They actually touched down in enemy-controlled territory a night before what’s referred to as D-Day.
His jump Thursday in the same area was different and — despite his being 93 years old now — a whole lot easier.
“It didn’t (compare),” Martin said, “because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me today.” …
Seven decades later, Martin did it again — not fighting a bloody war but at least reliving his role in a military campaign that changed the course of history. Others joined him in this now daytime jump, though he was the only one from his generation.
This time, he said that he wasn’t scared because, “once you get in the plane, you forget everything.” Bored would be more like it.
As he told reporters afterward, “To tell you the truth, riding around in the plane is boring. It’s when you get off the plane, that’s when it gets exciting … But there’s no fear to it. It’s just something you do.”
Martin admitted that he was motivated by “a little bit of ego, (to show that) I’m 93 and I can still do it.”