CORONADO, Calif. — Local war hero Tom Rice celebrated his 100th birthday Sunday by parachuting out of a C-47 plane over Coronado.
Hundreds of nearby residents, military members included, flocked to the beach to meet Rice when he landed on at the Hotel del Coronado beachfront.
“It’s unbelievable what you can view from up there,” Rice said. “We do a lot of maneuvering up there. That was a lot of fun.”
Rice, an airborne paratrooper who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day during World War II, was greeted with cheers, cake and a new watch to replace the one he lost while on the D-Day mission.
“Tom and his oak started us all off 79 years ago,” one military member said. “And we’re fortunate to just be able to spend a little time with him here to keep that legacy of 101st strong.”
With a new watch on his arm and a century under his belt, Rice has one piece of advice for the next generation.
“Keep physically fit and be prepared for anything,” he said.
Rice said for his 101st birthday, he wants to parachute out of the sky again, but at an even higher altitude.