2018 Mother Goose Parade Grand Marshal

Tom Rice, WWII Paratrooper & D-Day Veteran

Tom Rice is a veteran who fought in World War II and played a significant role in one of the largest Allied invasions ever. Tom is a retired social studies teacher who taught at Chula Vista and Hilltop High Schools for 44 years. But it is what he did over 70 years ago, no one will ever forget. At 22, Rice was a paratrooper in the war and jumped out of airplanes, however on this day, he was to be the first paratrooper to jump. He got his arm snagged onto the plane door which tore a bit of his skin and caused him to lose a new Hamilton wristwatch. After managing to get clear of the aircraft and land safely behind enemy lines, Tom regrouped with the rest of the members of his unit and carried out their vital predawn mission. The date June 6, 1944 D-Day.

On Friday, June 6, 2014, Rice solemnized his jump by taking yet another one. At age 92, he leapt out of the sky at 13,000 feet high to remember the ones who have served for this country and were unable to return home. His wife and daughter had been down below as he soared, cheering him on. He quoted after landing, “Nice drop, I enjoyed that.” Many people were there for pictures and autographs as Rice had made this action truly heroic movement.

We honor a WWII War Veteran, Hero, High School Teacher & Family man Tom Rice as the 2018 Mother Goose Parade Grand Marshal