A Winding Road to the Land of Enchantment
Gerald W. Thomas recounts growing up on a ranch in Idaho during the Great Depression, playing baseball with Jackie and Mack Robinson, joining the Navy after Pearl Harbor, and serving as a TBM Torpedo Bomber pilot on aircraft carriers in the Atlantic and Pacific. In an air attack on Bodo, Norway, his plane was heavily damaged by AA fire. In spite of an oil leak that covered the cockpit canopy and reduced visibility to almost zero, he was able to crash-land on the carrier, saving himself and his two crewmen. In the Pacific, he participated in air attacks on Manilla, Mindoro, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Japan. He had just returned to the USS ESSEX after a strike on Luzon when the carrier was hit by a Kamikaze, killing 16. Thomas was awarded 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 2 Air Medals, and 2 Presidential Citations for his combat actions in WWII. After the war, Thomas earned a PhD and after a distinguished academic career, became president of New Mexico State University.
- Electronic book text
- 07 Sep 2011
- Morrisville, NC, United States