WWII Veteran Checks Skydiving Off List Of Goals Following 102nd Birthday

Nov 03, 2020 by apost team

Despite the inherent excitement of life, many people constantly crave more. These people — often called "thrill seekers" or "adrenaline junkies" — are always looking for the next daring adventure or dangerous stunt. Yet when most people think about people attempting hair-raising stunts, you don't expect the hair being raised to be fully grey. We imagine that most people who try sky diving for the first time are millennials with a Groupon. However, 102-year-old veteran Vivian "Millie" Bailey, who went skydiving in Maryland in October 2020, doesn't exactly fit that mold. Then again, she never has.

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Millie is a veteran who served her country in World World II, as People reports. She has always been an adventurous spirit and has always strived to push her limits. Despite her service in the war and life packed full of adventures, Millie had always been somewhat afraid of heights. She wanted to tackle this fear before it was too late. When former President George H.W. Bush turned 90 years old, he decided to celebrate by skydiving out of a perfectly good airplane. Millie took this as a source of inspiration and decided to do the same.


“During a recent interview it was discovered that 102-year-old WWII veteran First Lt. Vivian ‘Millie’ Bailey, who has been honored by two sitting presidents, had one wish left on her [bucket] list- to do a ‘parachute jump’ like president George [H.W.] Bush did when he turned 75, 80, 85 and 90,” Skydive Baltimore explained in a Facebook post. Unlike Millie's descent, this stunt did not come out of the blue. Millie was being filmed as part of an ongoing series focused on our veterans called Honor Flight Heros, a show produced and airing on Discovery's American Heroes channel.

During filming, they asked her if there was anything she had always wished to accomplish but had never had the chance. Recalling Bush's brave jump, her answer was immediate. She wanted to skydive for the first time.

For many people, this would be a scary or daunting event. However, Millie's life has been so chock full of adventure that she hardly seemed fazed by the prospect. Except for the cost.

Millie had looked into skydiving before, thinking it would be a fun way to celebrate her 100th birthday two years prior. But when she learned of the $300 fee for a first-time jump, she had second thoughts, as Fox 17 reports. As someone who grew up in the Great Depression and who had always been frugal, spending so much money on a single event was hard for her to justify. But the Honor Flight Heroes paid for everything.

The crew of Honor Flight Heroes put the event together quickly. They arranged for the skydiving school to take the necessary precautions for a safe jump. This required a lot of additional planning and logistics. First, any first-time jumper must be accompanied by a trainer who is strapped to their back. This is done so that if a person begins panicking for passes out, someone will be able to take control of the situation and pull the shoot.

However, this was not the only hurdle. Although Millie is in excellent health, she is understandably more fragile than a younger person. At her advanced age, any excessive shock or force could be a dangerous problem. The crew made sure that the most advanced instructor possible was used to allow for the smoothest landing. They wanted to give her a luxurious ride as she fell from the sky.

Of course, filming the event also brought challenges. Not only did they have to account for Millie, but they needed instructors for the camera crew. Thus, on this pivotal day, the event went down. Jumping from the plane was Millie, her instructor, two camera operators, and their instructors. It was a logistical challenge for sure. However, it allowed Millie to achieve her dream and allowed Discovery to promote their series. It was a great decision by all.

Eric Roberts, the executive producer of the show, said, "You couldn't ask for a more thrill-packed ending to the episode."

"Millie would be the first 102-year-old person on Mars if it could be arranged," he added.

Millie wasn't alone in her endeavors, either. Many of her closest friends and family came out in support of the brave veteran as she casually committed to tackling her fears. Precautions were also taken, of course, with the Howard County EMTs on standby if their support was needed. As the plane rose into the sky, tears began flowing from the eyes of her family. Their pride was clearly visible.

Cornelius served as Millie's instructor. He calmly coached her saying, "I'm going to push you out." Millie calmly asked him, "Do you push me out before you come out?" Cornelius responded with a laugh, "If you want to go on a real adventure, but I think we should stick together."

The jump went perfectly. As they came to a smooth landing, Millie's smile could be seen by all. Applause could be heard from everyone.

Seeing someone still jumping out of planes for the first time at 102 years old is an inspiration to us all. You're never too old to try new things! Even though she left the Army in 1946 as a first lieutenant, she never stopped having a soldier's spirit. What's your favorite example of an older person still trying new things? Tell us below!

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