ENCINITAS, CA, January 9, 2019
The American Legion is turning 100, and American Legion San Dieguito Post 416, in Encinitas, CA is planning to celebrate!
You are cordially invited to celebrate, “A SALUTE TO THE GREATEST GENERATION”, featuring distinguished guest, 97 year old, WWII Paratrooper, Tom Rice. Festivities will be held at our Encinitas Post, 210 West F Street, Encinitas, CA, 92024 on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Gates open at 11:00am; National Anthem at 11:30am, with the featured program starting at Noon.
The Organization as a whole traces its roots to March 15-17, 1919, in Paris, France, amidst the aftermath of World War I. The American Legion was federally chartered on September 16, 1919, and quickly became an influential force at the national, state and local levels, dedicated to service to veterans, strong national defense, as well as youth and patriotism with over 5,400 local posts; 13,000 worldwide and more than 2.2 million war-time veteran members.
"The American Legion Family of Encinitas is excited to share both the legacy and the vision of our organization," Post Commander Matt Shillingburg said. "We've done a tremendous amount of good for our Veterans in this Community, and intend to keep doing it for a second century."
Hank Garrett is 87 and has been working in entertainment since 1962. He has starred in various shows such as Car 54, Knots Landing, Simon and Simon, Columbo, and more! Mr. Garrett has been assisting Veterans for years, and is one of the few of the celebrities who donates the proceeds from his autograph/signing events to Veterans.
A native of Coronado, Thomas M. Rice was born on August 15, 1921 to a naval aviation family, Marcus and Katherine Rice. The 600-square-foot house that his father built on H Avenue is still standing and it is where Tom lives today. During Rice's childhood, his father was killed in an air crash in the Panama Canal Zone in 1934. Rice graduated from Coronado High School in 1940 and he enlisted in the US Army at Fort Rosecrans in San Diego, California on November 17th. In 1943 he entered basic training at Camp Toccoa, Ga. and completed the parachute jumping school at Fort Benning in 1943. After eighteen months of training, he became a member of the 501st Regiment, newly formed infantry, 101st Airborne Division. While serving in the 101st Airborne Division, Rice led a squadron of twelve soldiers and served as a platoon sergeant for six months.
In the early hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, Staff Sergeant Thomas Rice, 22, jumped into Normandy as part of Operation Overlord,
the largest and most complex military campaign ever undertaken. Rice remembers the hours before parachuting into France:
"On the night of June 5, 1944, as we boarded the planes that would lead us into combat, I am not sure that we realized the full extent of the dangers and difficulties we faced, or if we thought to the hundreds of thousands of other men who have faced similar or even worse trials, but if we had known all that, it would not have made any difference to us. We were ready and almost eager to go into action and get the whole bloody thing over with. "
Shortly after midnight, in terrible weather, Rice and thousands of other "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Airborne Division parachuted into the night sky and over the Germans. While his plane was taking heavy anti-aircraft fire, the pilot maneuvered to escape the fire and, flying too fast and too low to jump, he hung up Rice in the door of the plane. Rice finally landed near Utah Beach, 4km north of Carentan, near heavily armed Germans and miles from the planned drop zone.He joined about fifty other Americans, and they fought in Normandy for more than a month, sheltering in hunting holes, having little equipment and capturing hundreds of German soldiers.