The Life of Captain Thomas
El Dorado/Captain Thomas Memorial Airport was named in honor of a local hero and World War II ace fighter pilot born and educated in El Dorado before entering service early during America’s involvement in World War II. Captain Thomas attended both local schools and Junior College before enlisting.
His ancestry included Josselyns and Gates; therefore he would have shared great-grandparents with Sir Thomas Gates.
Early Life and Education
His difficult upbringing shaped self-reliance, ambition, determination, a code of rectitude and love of country. After marrying and settling down in Alma Arkansas he built a successful farm.
Thomas joined the Navy through AFROTC and attended Boot Camp at RTC Orlando, FL and Equipment Operator “A” School in Gulfport, MS before receiving his commission through Officer Candidate School (OCS) in August 1996.
He has experience onboard as an Air Wing Staff Landing Signals Officer deployed with Carrier Air Wing Five; department head for VAW-116; and as the Executive Officer for USS Nimitz (CVN 68). In his current capacity as Operations Flight Commander of Carrier Strike Group Nine.
Thomas is an esteemed locker room leader and spent last season on the Bengals’ practice squad before being promoted to their active roster. As part of that roster, he became an essential special teams contributor – playing 431 special teams snaps and recording 10 special teams tackles in 2022 alone!
In 1943, he was given command of the Northland Ice Cutter within the Greenland Patrol and successfully pursued Nazi military personnel who had established a clandestine weather station on Sabine Island while clearing a path for Navy cargo ships passing through dangerous Arctic pack ice conditions.
He began his career with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office in 1995 as part of Corrections before moving over to Uniform Patrol after graduating LSU’s Basic Law Enforcement Academy. Later he served as Commander for Scotlandville Substation before making the switch to Gardere Substation in November 2016. An alumni of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc,
Achievement and Honors
Thomas was honored with the Distinguished Service Cross in 1944, yet remains modest about his heroics, noting “I was just trying to stay alive”. Fifty years passed before it was upgraded to the Medal of Honor.
Captain Thomas distinguished himself during his career by serving on destroyer ships as damage control assistant, engineer officer, commanding officer and N4 Materiel Officer of Commander Destroyer Squadron 26 and as N2 Naval Operations Officer at Allied Forces Europe Headquarters.
Captain Thomas has expanded beyond military life into various business pursuits, including real estate and financial investing. Additionally, he is active in community affairs and charitable organizations such as Young Republicans, Business Club, Officer Christian Fellowship Catholic Fellowship Fellowship as well as Regimental Choir membership.
Captain Thomas remains humble despite his impressive achievements, focusing on family and mentoring prospective Air Force officers. Additionally, he acts as senior military advisor for AFROTC Detachment 485 as well as serving as Senior Military Advisor of Detachment 485.
Francis Asbury must have found his first meeting with Captain Thomas unnerving; far away from home and lacking access to supplies, Asbury may have felt uncertain as he approached this man of God.
Captain Thomas, an accomplished surface warfare officer, currently serves as Integration and Force Structure Branch Head at Director OPNAV N81 Assessments Division. Prior to that role, he held Battle Force Captain duties under Commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic Fleet as well as being General George Custer’s aide-de-camp during Little Bighorn Battle.
Vivien Thomas has amassed an estimated net worth of approximately $10 Million and is one of America’s most successful women. She boasts an array of career accomplishments throughout her life and has also participated in high profile projects and events.
Her parents were both military men, providing her with an environment full of discipline and hard work. As such, she developed a strong work ethic and is committed to her career; making a significant impactful contribution in her field and becoming one of the key figures within politics.
Since October 2021, she has served as Force Navigator aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. Prior to this assignment she served with Carrier Strike Group NINE from Yokosuka Japan from July 2015 – October 2017 before serving three Western Pacific Deployments aboard Ronald Reagan (CVN-71). Currently she resides in Nashville Tennessee with her husband and two children.