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He was a U.S. Army paratrooper who fought during D-Day. Now, the Santa Barbara man is turning 100

Art Petersen (right) at a 2017 event in Santa Barbara honoring veterans for their service.
Lance Orozco
Art Peterson (right) at a 2017 event in Santa Barbara honring veterans for their service.

Art Petersen was wounded twice during World War II, but survived to become a successful businessman, and father of four.

It’s going to be a big party this weekend in Santa Barbara. A paratrooper who fought in some of the biggest battles of World War II is celebrating his 100th birthday.

Generations of people knew Art Petersen as a Santa Barbara businessman who owned a janitorial business.

But, as a young man, he was an army paratrooper during World War II. Peterson was a part of D-Day, and the “Battle of the Bulge”. He was wounded twice. Petersen is turning 100.

"He's like the last surviving member of his company, Fox company, " said Sam Petersen, Art’s son. "It's been quite remarkable my dad has been able to overcome so many things, and still be with us."

"It is very surreal. I always tell my dad he's made out of steel...he keeps going, and going."

Petersen’s 100th birthday is being celebrated at a big Santa Barbara party Sunday which includes military officials, community leaders, and family and friends.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.