97-year-old Vet and D-Day Survivor Jumps Into Normandy…Again
"This is a daylight jump and the Normandy jump in ’44 was a nighttime jump," former U.S. paratrooper Tom Rice said. He's describing the difference between his jump into Normandy 75 years ago compared to the present day. "I didn’t know where I was. [But] I knew where I was here. We had the American flag flying below us, I couldn’t see it but I’m sure it was very beautiful," Tom Rice told Martha MacCallum of Fox News' The Story.
WWII veteran Tom Rice is 97 years old now and to this day, continues to live a life of natural heroics and courage after jumping from a C-47 Transport over the beaches at Normandy Wednesday afternoon in honor of his friends and brothers that were lost on this historic day in 1944. Operation Neptune as it was called, was to be the largest seaborne invasion in history.
"It went perfect, perfect jump," Rice said after his jump on Wednesday. "I feel great. I'd go up and do it all again."
Tom Rice lives in San Diego now and frequently recalls his jump that day with the Army's 101st Airborne landing safely even after a bullet pierced his parachute. There was a point in the jump he almost didn't leave the plane.
"I got my left armpit caught in the lower left-hand corner of the door so I swung out, came back and hit the side of the aircraft, swung out again and came back, and I just tried to straighten my arm out and I got free," he told the Associated Press in an interview.
His jump on Wednesday was a different story. He came down in tandem with another parachutist, after preparing for six months with a physical trainer. Rice, who is part of the rightfully-earned "Greatest Generation," continues to prove to all who came after, that we will never be able to fully understand the level of courage and determination exhibited by our grandfathers and all those that fought before us.
Today is a day to take a knee for thousands that never blinked in the face of the enemy and left their hearts and blood in the sand for every freedom we will boast about today.