97-Year-Old D-Day Veteran Parachutes Over Normandy 75 Years Later in ‘Perfect Jump’
A 97-year-old WWII veteran parachuted into Normandy on Wednesday, reliving the exact jump he experienced 75 years ago during the D-Day invasion. The original jump, however, was dramatically different for former U.S. paratrooper, Tom Rice – he was alone, not in tandem, in the dark and being shot at during that fateful day.
To mark the sacrifice of these brave men and the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the San Diego native reportedly jumped out of the same type of C-47 military transport plane used in WWII into the very same landing zone. He was also joined by about 200 other parachutists.
“It went perfect, perfect jump,” Rice said enthusiastically, according to the Associated Press. “I feel great. I’d go up and do it all again.” To make the jump more impactful, an American flag was attached to Rice and his trainer was released by Rice and it perfectly waved in the air. The parachute was also appropriately colored red, white and blue.
Rice is a former paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, known as the “Screaming Eagles.” Nearly 100 years old and in great shape, Rice dedicated six months to train for the opportunity to make the jump over Normandy one last time. “Woo-hoo!” Rice said after he touched the ground and experienced a minor face plant, which didn’t even phase him! “I represent a whole generation.”