WWII veteran James ‘Pee Wee’ Martin to be escorted to Dayton National Cemetery

James “Pee Wee” Martin —a veteran of World War II who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day as a member of the 101st Airborne Division — will be buried Wednesday in Dayton National Cemetery

Martin died Sept. 11, Patriot Day, at the age of 101. Memorial services were being held Tuesday evening for Martin at the Sugar Valley Golf/Country Club, 1250 Mead Road, Bellbrook.

A visitation is scheduled there from 4 to 7 p.m., with a celebration of life service set for 7:15 p.m., his family told the Dayton Daily News.

On Wednesday, an escort to Dayton National Cemetery will begin at 9 a.m. The escort will begin at the Sugarcreek Administration building, 2090 Ferry Road, Bellbrook.

Credit: Bill Reinke

Credit: Bill Reinke

Martin, a Sugarcreek Twp. resident, 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 celebrated his 100th birthday on April 29, 2021.

As a member of the 101st Airborne Division, known as the “Screaming Eagles,” he parachuted into Normandy on June 5, 1944, one of the first American forces to land.

Four months later, he and his unit were part of the British-led Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands and Germany, and was part of the 101st-led defense of Bastogne, Belgium, stopping the German army’s last-ditch attempt to split Allied forces in the Battle of the Bulge.

He also saw action in Germany, helping to liberate a concentration camp and helping to seize Adolph Hitler’s Bavarian home, known as the Berghof, in April 1945.

When Martin came home at the end his tour of duty, his goal was to settle down and live a quiet life, he told this newspaper in a 2014 interview.

“I’ve been there and I’ve done that,” Martin said. “All I cared about was getting a job to take care of my family and building a house on 50 acres and forgetting the world.”

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