At 23 years old, Jim “Pee Wee” Martin jumped onto the beaches of Normandy on what would be historically called D-Day. Now, the 93-year-old the World War II veteran returned to France and made the jump again.
“When we made our initial jump into France, there were a few cirrus clouds up above, just enough so you still saw shadows down below,” Martin said of the jump on June 6, 1944. “It was just unbelievable to see as many ships as there were down there.”
When asked how the jump he made Thursday compared to the one he made as a private first class with the elite 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Martin told CNN, “it didn’t.”
“Because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me today,” he said.
Ahead of the jump, announcing his intentions at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force earlier this week, Martin said he was the only man in the unit who could still make the jump at his age.
Watch the event in CNN’s report:
Martin told the United State’s Army that he “knew it was going to be bad,” but that he never doubted the success of the mission he and his comrades engaged in on D-Day.
“You got to understand that you can’t let the fear control you; you have to do your job regardless of the fear, and we all did it. That’s what we had to do and we did,” he said of his missions in the Army.
Martin told CNN he recreated the jump again, in part, because he wanted “to show all the people that you don’t have to sit and die just because you get old.” If he comes back to Normandy on D-Day’s anniversary next year, he said he’ll make the jump again.
“You can bet on it.”