SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - World War II veteran Tom Rice frequently commemorates a time in his life he will never forget.
He was part of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division, which means he was one of the people who parachuted onto the beaches of Normandy on D-day.
The 101st Airborne Division is also known as the “Screaming Eagles.” This week, Rice will be reuniting with five other Screaming Eagles in Ohio.
The reunion is to celebrate the 100th birthday of one of the other veterans. Despite their history of jumping out of planes, the six Screaming Eagles will stay on the ground for this trip. Reenactors will parachute for them and historic warplanes will fly above.
He’s staying grounded this time, but Rice does continue to jump out of planes. He typically parachutes on the anniversary of D-Day, jumping well into his 90s. He was unable to jump for the 76th anniversary in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Rice said gatherings like the one in Ohio are important because they make sure people never forget the difficult tasks veterans went through.
“We have to keep the history of the airborne unit alive and jumping,” said Rice.
He added that when World War II veterans come together, conversations typically revolve around sharing stories and memories of their time in the military.
“Sitting around and talking and trading off what you did and where you were. Whether we agree or disagree is not important, it’s the fact that we still made it,” said Rice.
Rice will be turning 100 in August. He said he hopes for his birthday, he can jump out of a plane.