Local veteran, paratrooper’s 100th birthday will be honored with Jump Fest event

Parachute jumpers from all over the country will pay tribute to a Greene County veteran for his 100th birthday.

A celebratory Jump Fest for Jim “Pee Wee” Martin will be held from April 22 through 25. He turns 100 on April 29.

Martin was a paratrooper who jumped on D-Day as part of the 101st Airborne Division.

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Martin joined the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, in July 1942. He parachuted into Normandy near Saint-Come-du-Mont behind Utah Beach at 12:30 a.m. on D-Day.

Martin later fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and he received a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and European African Middle Eastern Service Medal for his service.

Martin earned the nickname “Pee Wee” by being the lightest paratrooper in his regiment. He lives in the same house that he built in Sugarcreek Twp. after he came home from the war.

People will be jumping most of the day on Friday and Saturday to honor Martin. Martin’s granddaughter, Jodi Martin, who lives in Bellbrook, is scheduled to do her first tandem jump in honor of her grandfather. Pee Wee Martin will meet his granddaughter on the landing pad. Jodi Martin said her grandfather gave her some advice about jumping out of a plane.

“They call him a local hero,” Jodi Martin said. “He’ll tell you he is not a hero, he was paid to do a job and that’s what he did. He’s just very humble.”

Jim Martin said he will not be jumping in this event.

There will be comments from Army officials and local government officials on the evening of Saturday, April 24 at Skydive Greene County, located at 177 S. Monroe Siding Road in Xenia. Also on Saturday there will be a fireworks show donated by Rozzi Fireworks. Country music singer Karen Waldrup will also be performing on Saturday.

Three historic aircraft will fly over with a mass parachute drop to honor Martin. The aircraft participating include, C-47 Placid Lassie of the Tunison Foundation, C-47 That’s All Brother and C-53 D-Day Doll are owned and operated by the Commemorative Air Force. All aircraft are also active members of the D-Day Squadron, which flew missions on D-Day and have been restored and preserved to represent their role in the Allied invasion of Normandy.

The 101st, 82nd Airborne Divisions and Golden Knights are expected to participate.

The Jump Fest will serve as a tribute to all members of the hailed Screaming Eagles, for their role as liberators of Europe and freeing citizens from Nazi Germany’s control, said CJ Machado, who is helping coordinate the event. Remaining Screaming Eagles, Bob Izumi, Tom Rice, Dan McBride, Dick Klein, and Vincent J. Speranza, all in their 90s, will be in attendance to celebrate.

The events honoring Martin are free and open to the public. There will be a food truck and a beer truck at the event.

There is no public parking at Skydive Greene County. Visitors can park at Caesar Ford Park and get shuttled to Skydive Greene County.

For more information about the event, visit https://wandrvets.org.

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