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WWII Veteran will skydive for his 100th birthday in Coronado Sunday

Tom Rice is a D-Day Paratrooper
Tom Rice skydiving.png
Posted at 4:26 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 21:23:59-04

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) -- World War II veteran Tom Rice will be celebrating his 100th birthday this Sunday with a commemorative skydive to honor his fellow D-Day Paratroopers.

Seventy-seven years ago, Tom Rice and his 101st Airborne Division Paratroopers jumped into the coast of France on D-Day.

"We chased them out of Normandy as best we can, as fast as we can," Rice said.

The thrill-seeker has repeated the skydive on several occasions. But this year's jump might be the most special of all.

"I was born in Coronado 100 years ago," Rice said.

That's right. This centenarian will be skydiving onto the beach of his hometown on his 100th birthday, on August 15, 2021. It's not something he takes lightly. Twice a week, Rice does CrossFit with a personal trainer.

"We're doing push-ups and push-downs and rowing and bicycling," Rice said. "Huffing and puffing, and it's good for the whole body."

On D-day, he somehow survived, despite having a bullet rip through his parachute. This time, Rice said the jump would honor those who weren't so lucky.

"[It's] a commemoration of all of those who did not make it. Could not make it. That were killed. That were injured. Whatever happened to them, we ended up with 37% casualties."

He hopes to touch the sand with some flare.

"I hope I could stand up after making a standing landing," Rice laughed.

Everyone is invited to watch Paratrooper Rice's jump above the Hotel del Coronado at around 11:30 am this Sunday.

He will have to keep up his fitness routine because he said he wants to return to France for D-Day 2023 to represent the 101st Airborne Division at 101 years old.