Family, friends celebrate SoCal WWII veteran's 100th birthday

Family and friends celebrated the WWII veteran as he turned 100.
MALIBU, Calif. (KABC) -- World War II US Navy Chief Quartermaster Martin Copenhafer has 100 reasons to celebrate. Family, friends and fellow veterans saluted the D-Day Normandy survivor with an appropriate, physically distanced 100th birthday celebration in his Malibu driveway.

Nearly 80 years later, his memories remain crystal clear.

"I was at UCLA when I enlisted in the Navy in May of 1942," said Copenhafer. "Got in a lot of action; we were in a lot of places, had a lot of guns firing."

For at least a couple decades, Copenhafer would celebrate reunions with his fellow service members. Those days ended long ago.

"Eventually there weren't enough people left to have a reunion and by now there aren't any of them left. I think I'm the only one left out of that crew that was on the 286 during the war. That's what happens when you out live everybody," he said.

"He was really hoping he'd make it to 100," said Deborah Ann Iacobucci, Copenhafer's niece. "My cousin and I joke all the time that he's probably going to outlive all of us."

And to have all these people show up to celebrate, even from a safe distance, he can hardly believe it.

"I'm just so surprised that many people are so interested in a 100-year-old geezer that happened to be a World War II veteran," said Copenhafer.
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