Tom Rice was one of the brave paratroopers who landed on Normandy Beach during D-Day. On the landing’s 75th anniversary in 2019, he stunned the world by recreating the jump at age 97.
At the time, Tom pledged to jump again when he turned 100. Now he has made good on that promise!
On August 16, 2021, Tom celebrated his 100th birthday by jumping out of a plane onto the beach at the Hotel del Coronado in his hometown of Coronado, California. He dedicated his jump to all the members of the 101st Airborne Division and “the Four Colonels of Carenan,” along with any other soldiers who didn’t make it home from World War II.
When the big day arrived, Tom was a little nervous, but he pushed through it as always.
“There’s a little bit of anxiety to face,” he said. “When you first get out of the plane, that prop blast is a little intense, but once you get past that, it was wonderful.”
Nearly the whole town turned out to watch his epic jump and honor their very own American hero. After landing smoothly on the beach with barely a hair out of place, Tom said, “I feel great! Let’s go back up and do it again.” So he did!
“I like to jump because it gives you a new vision of so many things that 90 percent of people will never be able to see,” Tom said.
He was touched to see so many Coronado residents there to give him their best wishes and celebrate him, and he’s already planning his next jump for his 101st birthday!
“I’m not crazy yet,” Tom continued. “We’re going to keep going. We have to keep these jumps going so that people don’t forget.”
Tom is absolutely right: We should never forget the sacrifices our brave service members have made (and still make) for our freedom!
Watch his epic jump in the video below, and share this story to wish Tom a very happy birthday. We can’t wait to see him in action again next year!
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