Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

97-year-old World War II veteran marks D-Day anniversary by parachuting into Normandy

His jump in 2019 was nothing like the one he experienced in 1944.

During World War II, Tom Rice served as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. He was one of thousands to parachute into Normandy on D-Day, which launched the liberation of occupied France and was a turning point for Allied forces. As he jumped out of the plane that day, his parachute was pierced by a bullet, and he had "the worst jump."

Now 97, the San Diego resident returned to Normandy this week to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, joining a gathering of about 200 other parachutists. Rice decided he wanted to honor the occasion by recreating his jump from a C-47 military transport plane, landing in the same zone as in 1944. He spent about six months preparing, and on Wednesday, he jumped with a trainer, unfurling an American flag as he made his way down. "Woo hoo!" he said upon landing. "I represent a whole generation." The jump, he told The Associated Press, "went perfect. I feel great. I'd go up and do it all again." Catherine Garcia