Veterans In U.S. Congress Will Jump From WWII-Era C-47 To Mark 80th Anniversary Of D-Day
A picture taken at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, northwestern France, on June 6, 2019, shows French and US flags ahead of French-US ceremony as part of D-Day commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. (Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP) (Photo by DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images)
DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images

A handful of veterans in the United States Congress will jump out of an actual World War II-Era Douglas C-47 into Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Friday.

In a post on X, retired Green Beret Florida Republican Rep. Michael Waltz announced that he and a bipartisan group of veteran in Congress will make the leap over Mont Saint-Michel in France out of one of the planes used by the Allied Forces in WWII, Roll Call reported.

“I spoke with [CBSMornings] about the 80th #DDay Anniversary and how we’re honoring the brave Americans who led the charge on the liberation of Europe,” Waltz post read. “On Friday, I’ll join veteran Members of Congress jumping into Normandy from one of the original C-47s from the invasion!”

Waltz made it clear this is no leisurely sky diving trip and they will be on the ground in just over a minute.

“From a military standpoint, the longer you’re sitting up there floating under a parachute, the more vulnerable you are to get shot. So you want to be as low to the ground as possible so that you float to the ground as fast as possible,” Waltz told the outlet.

“You don’t land softly, like when you see a skydiver just kind of tiptoe right onto the ground. You hit pretty hard,” he added. “Everyone has experience — but for some people it’s been quite a long time since they retired and since they were in an active airborne unit.”


Waltz and his crew will be joined by a large congressional delegation for a multi-day ceremony in France marking the anniversary. The Florida Rep. noted the 80th commemoration means that “the youngest World War II veteran that we know of that will be there is 96. The oldest is 107.”

“Several have died just since they signed up with American Airlines to go,” he added. “So it’s important to honor them to keep their legacy alive.”

In preparation for the jump and to knock off some of the cobwebs, the Florida Republican led most of the group on a practice jump in Florida, where they went over safety precautions.

Waltz said when Speaker Mike Johnson found out about the jump, he made it clear to him that, with the Republicans’ slim majority, every one of them better make it back, CBS Mornings noted.

“We joked with Speaker Johnson that the plane is 81 years old. It’s a vintage World War II plane,” Waltz said. “All of our uniforms will be vintage. We’re going over the same drop zone as our forefathers in World War II. But the parachutes are new. And we have a backup chute. So don’t worry, it’ll be just fine.”

During the visit, the group will also visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, where many of the 2,500 plus Americans who died during the D-Day assault are buried, the outlet noted.

Related: France’s Flame Of Liberty Arrives At Arlington To Honor 80th Anniversary Of D-Day

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