Rank and organization:   Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
February 1918, Columbus, Ohio.
Accredited to:   West Virginia.
For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the
call of duty while serving with the 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, in
action against enemy Japanese forces during the battle at the Koromokina
River, Bougainville Islands, Solomon Islands, on 7 November 1943. Although
several of his men were struck by enemy bullets as he led his squad through
dense jungle undergrowth in the face of severe hostile machinegun fire,
Sgt. Thomas and his group fearlessly pressed forward into the center of
the Japanese position and destroyed the crews of 2 machineguns by accurate
rifle fire and grenades. Discovering a third gun more difficult to approach,
he carefully placed his men closely around him in strategic positions from
which they were to charge after he had thrown a grenade into the emplacement.
When the grenade struck vines and fell back into the midst of the group,
Sgt. Thomas deliberately flung himself upon it to smother the explosion,
valiantly sacrificing his life for his comrades. Inspired by his selfless
action, his men unhesitatingly charged the enemy machinegun and, with fierce
determination, killed the crew and several other nearby-defenders. The
splendid initiative and extremely heroic conduct of Sgt. Thomas in carrying
out his prompt decision with full knowledge of his fate reflect great credit
upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)