Latest News 07-06-2024 21:02 9 Views

WATCH: House lawmakers parachute out of WWII-era plane at Normandy

A group of House lawmakers parachuted from a World War II-era plane on Friday to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

A tradition first started by Reps. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., and Jason Crow, D-Colo., the event included 10 lawmakers this year – nine Republicans and one Democrat, all of whom served in the U.S. military. 

Fox News Digital obtained video of the lawmakers landing in Mont Saint-Michel, a commune in Normandy, France, as well as footage from Waltz's Go Pro video during the jump.

They donned World War II military uniforms and parachuted into Normandy from a U.S. C-47 military transport plane that was extensively used during the war.

Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., said in a video after the jump that he was doing it in honor of Peter Arthur Durante, a World War II veteran with the 119th Battalion who is living in his district and just turned 100 earlier this month.

He told Fox News Digital earlier this week before jetting off to France, 'The fact that we're in Normandy, and you're wearing that uniform … and you're jumping from that plane that isn't what we're used to from our [service], you're stepping back in time in a way, and you're really trying to think about how many sacrifices that were made.'

'This is one of the greatest opportunities that I've had since I've been in Congress: to be able to literally recreate and reenact what they had done in 1944,' he said. 'And so, [what is] really going to be one of those things I think about is how many we lost and then also how lucky we truly are as Americans,' he said.

Asked what he'd be thinking about as he jumps out of the plane, Mills joked, 'This is either going to be a great jump or we might not be the majority any longer.'

He also noted that it's likely one of the last D-Day anniversaries that will actually have the aging veterans of that war in attendance.

Mills and his colleagues are part of a wider group of lawmakers who will be in Normandy along with President Biden to mark the anniversary of what's widely considered to be the turning point of the war in Europe, when Allied forces went on to defeat the Axis powers led by Germany and its leader, Adolf Hitler. They are not, however, part of the formal congressional delegation sent by Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

Crow, a former Army Ranger, said he, like Mills, served in the 82nd Airborne Division; both of Crow's units played critical roles in the June 6, 1944, operation.

'To be able to honor the veterans who served in those units before me, actually conducting the jump, is certainly a real privilege,' he said.

The Colorado Democrat said he and Waltz first came up with the idea on the House floor: 'I thought that it would be a good way, both as former paratroopers, to actually participate and honor our veterans.'

Another participant, Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, age 57, quipped to Fox News Digital, 'It's probably not the smartest thing to do at my age. But you know what? I'm going to do it.'

'It's just awesome. I mean, it's going to be one of the last D-Day anniversaries where you actually have, you know, veterans that were there,' Jackson said.

Other lawmakers who participated were Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., Rich McCormick, R-Ga., Keith Self, R-Texas, and House Homeland Security Chair Mark Green, R-Tenn.


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