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89-year-old veteran paratrooper parachutes for first time in 67 years

Published: Oct. 17, 2021 at 7:44 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - James ‘Jim’ Pike is an 89-year-old retired paratrooper who fought in the Korean War, and Sunday, his wife and family gathered to support him as he parachuted for the first time in 67 years.

“I thought, I’m in pretty good shape. I can do what they’re doing. So, we did it,” says Pike.

In 1951, Jim Pike joined the army as part of the 187th regimental combat team during the Korean War. Pike was a paratrooper until his last jump in September of 1954.

Pike says, “I’ve got 41 years total military service active and reserved. So, sometimes you get a little anxious to do some old things like that.”

Seeing other World War II or Korean War veterans skydiving made Pike want to see if he could still parachute.

Grandson of Pike, Matthew Pike, says, “he’s been talking about it for at least the last year if not more. I could tell just from the way he was, the way he talked about the stories that back in the day, jumping out, it was something that he really enjoyed, and as long as he could get into the plane and do it, I knew he’d have a blast.”

Jim’s wife of 66 years, elaine, watched as her husband relived his glory days jumping from a plane at ten thousand feet, not even slightly worried.

Elaine states, “really, I wasn’t. Because I thought he did its years ago, and he wanted to do it, and if he wanted to do it, he could do it. So, I was kind of calm.”

“It’s wonderful to have the family here. It’s just a great family activity. My youngest son jumped from the plane at the same time. So, that was fun to say that we had a family outing,” says Pike.

Pike says nearly 70 years later, it’s a little harder to get in and out of the plane, but he’s ready for round two.

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