nobody movie_The film A Rendezvous with Destiny honors three World War II paratroopers from Ohio

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What a birthday present for Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, a “Screaming Eagles” paratrooper from the D-Day landings in WWII in 1944.

Martin, who turns 101 on Friday April 29, will star in a one-hour film A rendezvous with destiny about three World War II paratroopers from Ohio, which will air Friday at 9 p.m. on Dayton’s WPTD-TV (Channel 16).

The resident of Xenia said in late 2020 when interviewed that all the soldiers on D-Day, the massive Allied invasion of Normandy, France, by 160,000 soldiers on June 6, 1944, were “just really scared all the time”. .

“But you cannot let this terror control you. You repress it. It’s in the back of your mind. Although we didn’t know what the casualties would be, each of us had a feeling, which we didn’t express to anyone, that we’d be the exception, that we wouldn’t be killed,” Martin said.

Courtesy of WWII Beyond The Call

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Jim “Pee Wee” Martin says the Screaming Eagles paratroopers were “terrified most of the time” on D-Day in 1944.

Martin enlisted in the US Army in July 1942. Assigned to the 101st Airborne Division shortly after its formation on August 16, he was one of the first Soldiers to graduate from Jump School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Martin made his first combat jump on June 6, 1944 during the D-Day invasion. His second combat jump was in the Netherlands on September 17, 1944 for Operation Market Garden. He also took part in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes on December 16, 1944.

A rendezvous with destiny tells the story of these battles through the memories of Martin, Dick Klein of Sandusky and Dan McBride of Conneaut. They first told their stories to Dutch author LTC Jos Groen for his book, Three of the last screeching eagles of World War II. Groen asked filmmaker Tracie Hunter and she WWII Beyond The Call non-profit organization organization to make the film. McBride and Klein have both died since interviewing Hunter, the film’s director and executive producer, two years ago.

“The eagle always screams when it attacks. We were the Screaming Eagles,” said McBride, who died in February at the age of 97.

Martin recounted the confusion after landing in France early in the morning. A soldier climbed a pole to see where they were before they began walking down a cattle track.

“There were banks on each side, German artillery and US artillery were both firing at us, and the place was littered with bodies. Oh damn it was awful,” Martin said.

As the Allies advanced westward in September, the Screaming Eagles reentered the fray, this time in daylight. Then they thought they would fly home to the US

“We gave up all our machine guns and mortars and things like that. Most of our guns have been given away to be renewed,” said Martin. “We have given away all our extra clothing. We were going to the States to take a picture and then to Guam to prepare for the trip to Japan.”

A Rendezvous with Destiny Producer Ashley Andews, PeeWee Martin and Director Tracie Hunter.jpg

Courtesy of WWII Beyond The Call

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Director and executive producer Tracie Martin (right) posed for a photo with Martin and producer Ashley Andrews after filming in 2020.

But when the Germans launched their last major offensive on December 16, 1944, with 200,000 men and 1,000 tanks the Ardennes offensive (aka Battle of the Bulge) the Screaming Eagles were transported by truck to Bastogne, Belgium.

The 101St Airborne was informed on December 18 that “there has been a breakthrough (by the Germans) and you are leaving. And I said, ‘Oh damn. We’re not going anywhere. I’ve got no ammo and no K-rations.’ And he said, ‘You go!’

“The Germans broke through and we had to hold them. There were seven roads and three railroads in this city… But if we can hold this city, we can stop it. And that’s why it was so damn important.”

Klein, who died last year at the age of 98, recalled when the actor was 101St The Airborne Division commander refused to surrender, with a one-word reply: “Nuts!” Within days, General George Patton’s Third Army arrived to secure Bastogne and the front was restored in late January. The Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945.

When Germany surrendered, “someone came out into the street and said, ‘It’s all over!’ And that’s how we knew it. There was no official proclamation or anything,” Martin said.

“There were no heroes, I don’t care what you say. There were no heroes,” said McBride, who had retired to Silver City, New Mexico. “When we got out of Bastogne, nobody had undressed for a month. They could smell us two blocks away. There was nothing glamorous about it at all. They were scared and hungry all the time… and someone was trying to kill you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you know. You could die anytime.

“I’ve told my kids most of my stories,” McBride told filmmaker Martin. “I think everyone should get an idea of ​​what a war is so they avoid it. I hope no one ever has to go through this again. But the way things are going, you don’t know.”

“I have done my duty. I never considered myself a heroine,” Klein told her. “Those who were killed were the heroes.”

Martin said the Screaming Eagles were “not looking for fame. We searched for results… You don’t lose your humanity. All you do is put her on hold for a while.

“I am very proud to have served in the 101St because we were what they call the spearhead. And because of what we did and the way we did it. That’s not bragging at all. It just happened,” Martin said.

Was it worth it?

“Sure, it was worth it. Damn right, it was worth it!”

The Ohio premiere of A Rendezvous with Destiny will be on Friday, April 29 at 9 p.m. on WPTD-TV (Channel 16). It will also air Sunday, May 22 at 3:00 p.m. on WCET-TV. Hunter’s next WWII Beyond The Call film, The Tolerance Monumentwill premiere in May at the 2022 GI Film Festival in San Diego.

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