To Support "The 4 Colonels of Carentan" Memorial - Normandy, France
In 1942, Thomas Rice attended Camp Toccoa, Georgia, before being sent to the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, where he joined the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the 101st Airborne Division. While serving with the airborne infantry, Rice commanded a 60mm mortar crew and served as platoon sergeant.
Deployed in 1944 to England with the entire company C, 501st PIR, he prepared for "Operation Overlord," the largest allied invasion against Nazi Germany. He belonged to a support group mainly armed with mortars. On June 5, 1944, at Merryfield airfield, he embarked aboard a Douglas C-47 belonging to the fourteenth drop serial. The mission of his division was called “Albany," aimed to secure several roads crossing the Cotentin marshes.
Rice returned to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in June 2019, where he jumped in the same drop zone as he did on D-Day. He was 97 years-old at the time. His inspirational jump and incredible stories are documented in LIBERTAS (Normandy Jump 2019).
To read Tom's personal account on Normandy 1944
WWII Paratrooper Tom Rice helped "Save the World" from Nazi Germany, then went on to serve as a teacher. Mr. Rice taught high school history and cross-country at Hilltop High School for over twenty years. Hilltop HS hosted the launching of the "Call-to-Service" International Program and series.
"The Lost Watch of D-Day" is a historical timepiece based on the story of WWII Paratrooper Tom Rice exiting the C-47 aircraft during "Operation Overlord."
WWII Enthusiasts and Patriots Welcome!
From the Normandy beaches to San Diego...
WWII paratrooper, Tom Rice's Epic Birthday Jump! This time, Tom won't be shot at and will be jumping in celebration of his 100th Birthday in his hometown of Coronado, California.
D-Day veteran aircraft, C-53D D-Day Doll will be dropping our Hometown Hero on the beach front of the Hotel del Coronado, and what a sight it's going to be!
We are looking forward to seeing you at the legendary Hotel del Coronado to celebrate a Legendary Hometown Hero, U.S. Army veteran Mr. Thomas M. Rice,
D-Day - Operation Market Garden - Battle of the Bulge - Berchtesgaden.
Thomas M. Rice Centennial Celebration 1921 - AUGUST 15 - 2021
See you soon!
Event Producer, Veteran Advocate and Photojournalist
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: CJ Machado
July 14, 2021 cjmachado@LoveAmazinglyProductions.com
HOMETOWN HERO WWII PARATROOPER TOM RICE TO JUMP ON HIS 100TH BIRTHDAY!
101st ABN DIV “Screaming Eagle” to jump at the Hotel del Coronado on his Centennial Birthday!
CORONADO, CALIF. – WWII paratrooper Tom Rice will jump in his hometown of Coronado on the beach front of the historic Hotel del Coronado. The Commemorative Air Force’s C-53D D-Day Doll will drop Rice for his centennial celebration. D-Day Doll flew missions on D-Day and has been restored and preserved to represent her role in the Allied invasion of Normandy. D-Day Doll crossed the Atlantic to participate in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day ceremonies that involved Tom Rice. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Teams with “Beyond the Teams” (BTT) will be providing Drop Zone Security Detail. BTT is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting worthy causes and events. This monumental event is presented by Operation Call-To-Service and will be hosted by the Hotel del Coronado.
The event will take place on Sunday, August 15, 2021 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Hotel del Coronado Beach Front, 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, California. The event is sponsored by Seaborn Cocktails, the Navy SEAL Museum, Metarom Flavors, Coronado Cross-fit and Praesidus watchmakers, the creators of Tom Rice’s “The Lost Watch of D-Day.”
At 22 years of age, Tom Rice volunteered to join the new and untested combat branch of the American Army and what he calls “The Airborne Experiment.” After rigorous and almost impossible training, Rice became a member of the most exclusive and demanding regiments of that time, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the 101st Airborne Division, C Company, commanded by the legendary Colonel Howard “Jumpy” Johnson. Rice parachuted in Normandy on D-Day and Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. He served in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium and captured Hitler 's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany. After the war, Tom resumed his studies and later became a teacher. He taught High School and Junior College Social Studies and History for over forty-four years.
On June 5, 2019, at the age of 97, Tom Rice parachuted once again from a C-47 over Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which is known as the largest historical re-enactment event of our lifetime and is documented in the film Libertas.
When Tom was asked what it was like to jump 75 years later, he responded, “My hope is the next generations will always remember the men who came and fought for them, many sacrificing their lives to liberate the world. May we never forget them." Tom is dedicating his 100th birthday jump to the 101st Airborne Division and “The 4 Colonels of Carentan” in support of a monument being built in Normandy as a tribute to those who liberated Europe.
Come join us to wish Tom a happy 100th birthday and congratulate him on his epic jump! WWII Honor Flight San Diego veterans and WWII “Screaming Eagle” Dan McBride (97), will be in attendance to celebrate.
This event is free and open to the public. All attendees must comply with current California mandated COVID protocols.
To learn more about the event, visit: www.OperationCall-To-Service.com
To follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/operationcalltoservice
or search by #TomRocks #TeamTom #AirborneTom #OperationCallToService
What: WWII Paratrooper Tom Rice’s 100th Birthday Centennial Celebration!
Where: Hotel del Coronado Beach Front, 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, California, 92118.
When: Sunday, August 15, 2021 10am–1 pm for general public. Tom’s estimated jump time is at 11:30 a.m. Please arrive early to find a spot on the beach.
Performances by the sensational Katleen Dugas and the “Sweethearts of Swing.”
More info: www.OperationCall-To-Service.com
Media Contact: For media wanting to cover this event, contact: Event Media Relations, CJ Machado cjmachado@LoveAmazinglyProductions.com or (858) 735-8487. Interview opportunities will be available on Friday and Saturday, August 13, 14th with Tom Rice and during the event with prior coordination.
Tom Rice Birthday Promo video and Coronado Times article: https://coronadotimes.com/news/2021/07/12/tom-rice-to-celebrate-100th-birthday-with-commemorative-jump-on-august-15/
Tom Rice Media Kit is available upon request.
TIMELINE Tom Rice's 100th Birthday Centennial Celebration
Sunday, August 15, 2021
-10:00am FLYOVER with the Commemorative Air Force's C-53D D-Day Doll aircraft that flew gliders and paratroopers on D-Day.
-11:00am -PRESENT COLORS by Coronado High School JROTC
-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE led by United States Marine Corps veteran and Mt Soledad National Veterans Memorial Association, Board of Trustees, Vice President, Event Committee Chairman, Phil Kendro
-NATIONAL ANTHEM sung by Katleen Dugas of the "Sweethearts of Swing"
-INVOCATION by Pastor David McElrath with Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church.
-1130am (Estimated Time) TOM JUMPS!!! Immediately following Tom's Jump:- Victory laps with WWII honored guest, D-Day veteran, Dan McBride (97).
Receiving Line with Dignitaries and Tom's family-Hotel del Coronado General Manager, Harold Rapoza extends welcome to Tom and guests
- Birthday Wishes
-Birthday cake presented by the talented pastry chef with the Hotel del Coronado- Happy Birthday sung by Katleen Dugas with the "Sweethearts of Swing"
-12:15pm Tom in WWII Jeep will lead parade to the Windsor Lawn. For public safety, we ask that supporters follow 30 feet behind. Beyond The Teams (Prior Navy SEALs) will secure the path for the Jeep.
-12:30 pm Windsor Lawn for Media interviews. Media interviews will not be open to the public.
-1:00 - 3:00pm Tom's family, dignitaries and Team Tom
TEAM TOM & TOM RICE THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT! GODSPEED!
At 22 years of age, Tom Rice left the peaceful town of Coronado, California to join what he calls “The Airborne Experiment.” After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Rice volunteered to join a new and untested combat branch of the American Army. Tom explains, "It was the adventure, high risk, mental and physical challenge plus the additional $50 a month bonus that convinced him to go beyond the call of duty."
During the early phase of the program, he trained with the U.S. Airborne Jump School pioneers at Camp Toccoa, Georgia (As seen in Band of Brothers). Tom faced many challenges in order to complete this highly selective program. His instructors were eager to disqualify those who could not endure their intense drills. Tom's determination and perseverance earned him the coveted paratrooper wings at Fort Benning, Georgia. He found himself in one of the most elite and demanding regiments of that time, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the 101st Airborne Division, C Company, commanded by the legendary Colonel Howard “Jumpy” Johnson.
Rice parachuted in Carentan, Normandy, France on D-Day and with his fellow comrades they fought an intense battle for 37 days on the ground. Rice's regiment went on to launch Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands, Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium, Hitler 's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany, and ended in Auxere, France, where the 501st PIR was de-activated.
75 years later (June 2019) at the age of 97, and wearing his original WWII combat uniform and boots, Tom Rice inspired the world and parachuted once again from a C-47 over Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This monumental jump was viewed by millions and documented in the film LIBERTAS. When Tom was asked what it was like to jump 75 years later, he responded, “My hope is the next generations will always remember the men who came and fought for them, many sacrificing their lives to liberate the world. May we never forget them...NEVER."
To watch Tom's monumental jump and to hear his story, visit: www.SpeedandAngelsProductions.com
After the war, Tom resumed his studies and later became a teacher. He taught High School and Junior College Social Studies and History for over forty-four years.
Tom Rice's "The Lost Watch of D-Day" D-Day - On June 6, 1944, Staff Sergeant Rice led 18 paratroopers out the door over Drop Zone D in Carentan, Normandy, France for "Operation Overlord." Upon exiting, Tom was injured even before he reached the ground. Due to the flak ridden skies, the aircraft's accelerated speeds, and low altitude, Tom was thrown and wedged in the corner of the door, fighting to break free. Once Rice finally broke free, he was scraped from his armpit to his wrist. It wasn’t until he landed that he realized he had lost his prized A-11 wristwatch. Tom had always hoped a good Frenchman would find it. Years later, he would tell that story and in gratitude, Tom would give a wristwatch from his own personal collection as a keepsake for his friends in Normandy.
It wasn't until 75 years later that a French watchmaker decided to recreate the A-11 prized wristwatch in Tom Rice's honor, calling it "The Lost Watch of D-Day." Today, you can wear this historical timepiece and continue to share Tom's legacy by sharing his story. As a tribute to the 101st Airborne Division, Tom Rice's "The Lost Watch of D-Day" and the A-11 wristwatch collection will be sold to help support "The 4 Colonels of Carentan" Memorial in Carentan, Normandy, France.
To learn more and support "The 4 Colonels of Carentan" Memorial, visit: https://call-to-service.com/4-colonels-of-carentan