CORONADO, Calif. — Many people celebrate their 100th birthday with cake, surrounded by family and friends in a nice, comfortable setting.
Tom Rice celebrated his centennial by parachuting out of a C-47 plane over a Southern California beach, KGTV reported.
“It’s unbelievable what you can view from up there. We do a lot of maneuvering up there,” the former paratrooper told KSWB after landing on the beach in his hometown of Coronado. “That was a lot of fun.”
Rice, who also parachuted at Normandy on D-Day with the 101st Airborne Division, remembered jumping behind the German lines in France on June 6, 1944.
“I tried to get out of the harness and couldn’t do it so I opened up my double zipper here and took out my Swiss blade knife and started cutting through,” Rice told KGTV.
Thomas Marcus Rice was born in San Diego on Aug. 15, 1921, according to online military records. He enlisted in the U.S. military on Nov. 17, 1942, at Fort Rosecrans, California, records show.
After his skydive on Sunday, Rice was greeted with cheers, cake and a new watch to replace the one he lost at Normandy 77 years ago, KSWB reported.
Rice already has plans for his 101st birthday. He wants to parachute again, but from a higher altitude.
“We’ll go to 13,000 feet this time,” he told KGTV.
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