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World War II veteran jumps out of plane to celebrate 100th birthday

Skydive Palatka made D-Day veteran Tom Rice’s birthday wish come true

How would you celebrate your 100th birthday? Would you jump out of a plane?

That’s exactly what D-Day veteran Tom Rice did with the help of Skydive Palatka.

The local skydiving center made Rice’s 100th birthday wish come true with a skydive from a vintage World War II airplane over the weekend in San Diego.

Art Shaffer of Skydive Palatka and his team flew to California to perform a tandem skydive landing at the famous Coronado Hotel in San Diego.

San Diego was Rice’s hometown where he signed up to serve after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Rice and Shaffer also teamed up for a tandem skydive into Normandy France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019. Shaffer and Skydive Palatka are famous for providing tandem skydives to many World War II veterans.

Rice served in World War II with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division as a platoon sergeant and commanded 12 paratroopers until he jumped on June 6, 1944, over Normandy for Operation Overlord.


About the Author:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications.