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WWII airborne demonstration team members walk with WWII veterans Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, center left, and Dan McBride as they exit the drop zone during a 100th birthday celebration held in Martin’s honor, April 23, 2021, in Xenia, Ohio. Both McBride and Martin, served as paratroopers assigned to 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
WWII airborne demonstration team members walk with WWII veterans Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, center left, and Dan McBride as they exit the drop zone during a 100th birthday celebration held in Martin’s honor, April 23, 2021, in Xenia, Ohio. Both McBride and Martin, served as paratroopers assigned to 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (Wesley Farnsworth/U.S. Air Force)

(Tribune News Service) — A country music singer is writing a song about local hero, Jim “Pee Wee” Martin.

Karen Waldrup visited Martin’s home in Sugarcreek Twp. and interviewed him about his life to write a song about his experiences in World War II. Waldrup is known for her songs “Justified” and “Does She Pour Your Whiskey.”

Martin, a Greene County 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 turned 100 on April 29.

A photo of then Pvt. Jim ”Pee Wee” Martin, hangs on the wall inside his Xenia, Ohio, home, on April 15, 2021. Martin served as a paratrooper assigned to 101st Airborne Division, 506th Infantry Regiment, G Company, out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
A photo of then Pvt. Jim ”Pee Wee” Martin, hangs on the wall inside his Xenia, Ohio, home, on April 15, 2021. Martin served as a paratrooper assigned to 101st Airborne Division, 506th Infantry Regiment, G Company, out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (Wesley Farnsworth/U.S. Air Force)

“His memory was totally on point,” Waldrup said. “We were able to just write straight from what he was saying.”

Jodi Martin, Pee Wee’s granddaughter, said the four hour music making session was “very touching.”

Waldrup asked Pee Wee Martin about what it was like to jump out of the plane, what the ride to the beach was like, what it was like when he came home to Sugarcreek Twp. and other questions. Waldrup said Pee Wee Martin told her about what it was like to jump into open fire, saying the explosions were like one continuous flame.

“It’s so rare that he’s still here. He kept saying he wasn’t a hero,” Waldrup said. “He doesn’t see it like we see it.”

Waldrup first met Pee Wee Martin at his hundredth birthday celebration when she was asked to perform.

“My fans were freaking out that I got to meet him,” Waldrup said.

After being in Ohio, Waldrup performed in Key West. She saw someone from CreatiVets, which is an organization that writes songs with veterans. They gave her the idea to write a song about Pee Wee Martin.

“I’d never done anything like this before. It was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done,” Waldrup said. “He was so easy to talk to.”

Waldrup said her song, which she’s calling “In the Morning,” will be done later this summer. She was not sure when it would be released. Waldrup is writing the song with musician, Hunter Jergens, who is from New Carlisle.

“It was a neat experience,” Jodi Martin said.

Waldrup will be back in Greene County on June 12 opening for Craig Morgan at Caesar Fest at Caesar Ford Park. She said she hopes she gets to see Pee Wee Martin while in town.

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(c)2021 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) Visit the Dayton Daily News at www.daytondailynews.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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