Tom Rice, From Coronado to Berchtesgaden

"The watch speaks for itself in shape, design,
elasticity and durability.”

-Tom Rice
101st Airborne Division
501st Parachute Infantry Regiment
C Company

However, it wasn't easy for young Thomas. During the early phase of the program, he trained with the U.S. Airborne Jump School pioneers at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. Tom faced many challenges due to the vigorous physical training and mental fortitude needed to complete this highly selective program. His instructors were eager to disqualify those who could not endure their intense drills. None of these deterred Tom. Through his determination and perseverance, he earned the coveted paratrooper wings at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Tom then found himself in one of the most elite and demanding regiments of that time, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, commanded by the legendary Colonel Howard “Jumpy” Johnson.

On June 6th, 1944 at the hour of darkness, Staff Sergeant Rice led 18 Paratroopers out the door over Drop Zone D in Normandy, France for Operation Overlord.

Tom was injured even before he reached the ground. Its wasn’t until then that he realized he had lost his wrist watch. Even so, he rejoined his fellow comrades and had an intense battle for 37 days on the ground in Normandy. After that, they went on to launch Market Garden, Battle of the Bulge, Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany and ended in Auxere, France where the 501st PIR was de-activated.

On December 21, 1945, Tom Rice was honorably discharged. He resumed his studies and later on taught High School and Junior College Social Studies and History for forty four years.

June 5, 2019. 75 years later.

Tom jumped once again from a C-47 over Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. He was 97 years-old at the time. Still sharp and alert, wearing his combat uniform and jump boots that he wore on D-Day.

When Tom was asked, what was it like to jump 75 years later, he adamantly responded, “The only difference was there was no one shooting at me.” Everything was the same, the English channel, the houses, the churches, and even the French people who were children back then.

Once Tom reached the previously enemy occupied ground, he could here the cheers from the crowd. Grateful citizens traveled from all over the world to thank Tom and all the World War II veterans that were in attendance.

Tom jumped to inspire the world! “I came home and they didn’t. I don’t want anybody to forget them.” Tom stated.

Tom and his colleagues hope that the next generations will always be reminded of the men who came and fought for them, many sacrificing their lives to liberate the world. We shall never forget them.

That's why here at Praesidus, the stories go on.

Tom Rice Limited Edition

Shop Now


To commemorate Tom Rice's D-Day jump, we added a special engraving on the back of the case. Written on the back is Tom Rice's name, the military division he belongs to, and the date he made the infamous jump over Normandy.


Each piece of the Tom Rice Limited Edition A-11 watch is numbered to make sure you get a unique military-themed time-telling instrument that is solely yours. It's also our way to show the quality and authenticity of our timepieces.


Imagine losing something special and thinking of never finding it forever. Then, imagine finding it again, in a beautifully packed box.

Open Today


Every tale of military heroism deserves to be celebrated. So, if you have a compelling story from historical moments that is worth telling, let us know and we will help you share it to the world.

Contact Us