WWII veteran and ‘Toccoa Original’ dies at age 101

WWII veteran Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, poses for a photo during a 100th birthday celebration held in his honor April 23, 2021, in Xenia, Ohio. Martin served as a paratrooper assigned to 101st Airborne Division, 506th Infantry Regiment, G Company, out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Funeral services were held this week for a World War II veteran well known throughout Northeast Georgia.

James “Pee Wee” Martin died Sept. 11.

He was among the last remaining of about 6,000 men who arrived at Curahee Mountain, near Toccoa, to train as one of the country’s first paratroopers.

In 2015, he told the American Veterans Center about jumping into Normandy on D-Day.

“We had three jump zones,” he said in this video. “Jump zone D in the history books is called ‘the slaughterhouse.’ Intelligence didn’t tell us what was down there. There were two divisions of SS and two divisions of Panzer grenadiers and we jumped right on top of them.”

He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, among other honors, for his service.

The Ohioan spoke often in Northeast Georgia, returning for reunions of his “Band of Brothers,” who were depicted in the famous TV miniseries of the same name.

His time at the then-primitive and unfinished Camp Toccoa also gave him his nickname, which he got because of his small stature.

At his centennial in 2021, he told an Air Force public affairs writer that he only weighed 106 at the time.

“But I told everyone it doesn’t matter what your size, because you’re carrying an M1 rifle just like the rest of us,” he said in this report. “As long as you have that, it’s an equalizer, and you’re just as good as the big guy.”

His obituary says he last jumped out of a plane at age 99.

Martin was 101 years old.

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This article appears on Now Habersham through a news partnership with GPB News

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