Gainesville County, Fla. – On Saturday a World War II veteran had an afternoon they would never forget.
World War II Veteran Paratrooper Vince Speranza of the 101st Airborne made a tandem skydive with Art Shaffer at the age of 98.
The pair jumped from the “Tico Belle,” an aircraft which was used in the Normandy D-Day invasion. Speranza has made other tandem skydives for recent commemorative events around the world.
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In his memoir “Nuts,” Speranza tells his story of training as a Paratrooper and first seeing combat as a machine gunner in the “Battle of the Bulge.” Speranza made training jumps in the final days of World War II in preparation for a possible airborne attack in the Pacific before Japan surrendered. He was also the featured speaker on Saturday with a fireworks show in honor of his slightly belated 98th birthday.
Speranza was hosted by the Round Canopy Parachuting Team, a foundation which is dedicated to increasing awareness and educating the public about the sacrifices and heroism of Allied Paratroopers from World War II onward.
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Earlier in the week over 150 parachutists came from all over the United States and Europe to take part in a six-day training event at Skydive Palatka to prepare for round canopy parachute jumps into Normandy, France this summer for the 79th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of World War II and air shows around the country later this year.
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