WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday with skydive in California

Posted at 9:16 AM, Aug 17, 2021

CORONADO, Calif. — World War II veteran Tom Rice celebrated his 100th birthday Sunday with a commemorative skydive over his hometown of Coronado, California.

Rice jumped from 7,500 feet. He landed on the beach in front of Hotel Del Coronado.

“We do a lot maneuvering up there. That was a lot of fun,” Rice said about the jump.

Hundreds of people and military members came out to support the beloved American hero for his service.

Rice was one of the paratroopers in the 101st Airborne Division that jumped onto the coast of France on D-Day in 1944.

He remembers the experience like it was yesterday.

"I tried to get out of the harness and couldn't do it, so we opened up my double zipper here and took out my switchblade knife and started cutting through," Rice said.

Since then, he's recreated that historic jump several times with each drop just as exciting as the one before.

“It’s [excitement] not going to leave me for probably the next three or four months," Rice said.

As for his 101st birthday, Rice is already thinking ahead. He hopes to do another jump that's even higher.

“We’ll go to 13,000 feet this time,” he said.

When asked what his secret was to living a long life, Rice said exercising. He does Cross Fit two times a week. Rice said it’s how he prepared for this 100th birthday jump.

This story was originally published by Nia Watson at KGTV.