World War II veteran goes skydiving at age 88

Veteran jumps again for one final time

RAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – It's been 70 years since George O'Brien jumped out of an airplane during World War II.

On Saturday, at the age of 88, he jumped again for one final time.

He was in the U.S. Army 11th Airborne Division during the occupation of Japan. Of his 10 siblings, six served in the military.

"There was five of us gone. Five of us in the service at the same time," O'Brien said. "I lost a brother on Leyte -- so I'm patriotic as hell."

O'Brien still has a ton of memories of his time as a paratrooper during World War II. Many of those memories he's shared with his family.

"He never liked doing one single jump," said his son, Tim O'Brien. "He says he had to be pushed out every time."

"I was scared the first time, second time, third time, fourth time, fifth, sixth -- I was scared every goddamned time I jumped," George O'Brien said.

"He got $25 a month increase in pay to be a paratrooper, so that was big money back then," said his son, Sean O'Brien.

George O'Brien did a total of 26 jumps 70 years ago. On this clear Saturday afternoon in October, he decided to jump once more.

"It takes me out of the rocking chair," George O'Brien said. "I don't want to get in a rocking chair. I want to do stuff like this. I want the family. I want to walk. I want to go to McDonald's."

"Every one is proud of him," Sean O'Brien said. "He's braver than most of us, I think, for doing this."


About the Authors:

Kimberly Gill joined the Local 4 News team in November 2014. She was named Personality of the Year in 2009 by the Ohio Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. She’s also a two-time Emmy winner.