World War II veteran celebrates 100th birthday with Coronado plane jump

The “hometown hero” reflected on his life, military service and future plans on Sunday at the Hotel Del Coronado.

CORONADO, Calif .– On Sunday August 15, World War II veteran Tom Rice kicked off his 100th birthday celebration, but it was more than a normal, quiet birthday party .

Rice, with the US Navy Parachute Team the “jump frogs», Jumped from a plane at the Del Coronado hotel.

Some might call Rice “fearless”. He is not afraid of growing old and is certainly not afraid of heights. Rice often trains at a Crossfit gym in Coronado.

“I can peel off my skin and dance around my bones,” Rice said with a laugh on Sunday.

Jumping planes isn’t new to Rice. In fact, the D-Day veteran was among the thousands of Americans and Allied troops who were parachuted under gunfire to storm the beaches of Normandy in 1944. He recreated the jump in 2019 from ‘a C-47 when he was 98 years old.

“[I was] I was wondering where the hell I was, ”Rice said as she reflected on D-Day.“ I wasn’t hurt. ”

This time around, the centennial had a crowd cheering him on the beach, chanting “Happy Birthday” and “God Bless America” as he landed on his feet with no problem.

“It’s great,” Rice said just after the jump. “It’s different.”

When asked, Rice said he had a few words of wisdom for young San Diego.

“Stand up and make a decision and stick to it,” Rice said.

The parachutist ended on a patriotic note.

“We are all for one and one for all,” Rice said.

Rice plans to go skydiving for her 101st birthday next year.

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