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Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1945-1947, NAS St. Simons Island, GA
Service Years
1928 - 1947
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember THOMAS, William (Navy Cross), RADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Wilkes-Barre, PA
Last Address
Daly City, CA

Date of Passing
Jul 01, 1968
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Screen Commander of Destroyer and Destroyer Escorts

Navy Cross


The President of the United States takes pride in
Presenting the NAVY CROSS to


for service as set forth in the following

                "The Navy Cross is presented to William Dow Thomas, Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism as Screen Commander of Destroyer and Destroyer Escorts screening an Escort Carrier Task Unit, during action against major units of the enemy Japanese Fleet, in the Battle off Samar Island, Philippine Islands, on 25 October 1944. When a formidable column of Japanese battleships, cruisers and destroyers attacked our small Task Unit of Escort Carriers, Captain (then Commander) Thomas closed on the hostile disposition, deploying his small force between the enemy and the lightly armed and armored carriers and brought his light caliber guns to bear upon the rapidly advancing hostile Fleet units. By a skillfully organized torpedo attack, launched at short range, he succeeded in delivering a series of crippling blows, despite continuous fire from heavy caliber enemy guns, and contributed materially to the victorious conclusion of this historic battle. His courage, leadership and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

                                                                            For the President,

                                                                            /s/ James Forrestal

                                                                            Secretary of the Navy

Other Comments:
Captain William Dow Thomas, U.S. Navy

William Dow Thomas was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA, on April 4, 1904.  He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1928.

His first assignment was to serve on the USS WEST VIRGINIA (BB 48) until 1930 when he entered the submarine service at New London, Connecticut and served on several submarines until 1935.  He served on the Fletcher Class destroyer USS CLAXTON (DD-571) prior to taking command of the USS HOEL when it was commissioned in July 1943.

 Commander Thomas served as Captain of HOEL for just over one year and saw much action during that time.  Hoel sailed from San Francisco Bay 16 August 1943 for shakedown training in operating areas out of San Diego during which she made seven depth charge runs on an underwater sound contact with unknown results.  After returning to Mare Island Navy Yard 17 September for final alterations, she cleared San Francisco 26 October as a part of the screen for a convoy which reached Pearl Harbor 31 October 1943.  Commander Thomas next participated in Operation GALVANIC in the Gilbert Islands, operations against Makin Island, antisubmarine patrol off Tarawa, and the invasion of the Marshall Islands. In February 1944 HOEL took station off Eniwetok for close fire support of the initial landings.

Hoel then patrolled south and east of Cape Botiangen, New Hanover, where her guns destroyed an enemy warehouse 26 March 1944, and, the next day, captured documents which contained valuable information from a 4~foot outliner canoe.  That night she made four depth charge runs on an underwater sound contact with unknown results.  She returned to Purvis Bay 8 April 1944 to screen a convoy carrying troops and supplies to Emirau Island.  Upon her return to Purvis Bay 14 April 1944 Hoel reported for duty to the commander of Cruiser Division 12 who kept her busy with training exercises and convoy duty until August when Commander Thomas was promoted to Captain and relieved by Commander Leon S. Kintberger.

In August 1944, Captain Thomas was assigned as Screen Commander of Task Unit 77.4.3 and remained aboard HOEL as his flagship.  He was seriously wounded in the Battle Off Samar where HOEL was sunk.  He was hospitalized until February 1945.  Commodore Thomas was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his wounds.  Task Unit 77.4.3 was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the engagement at Samar.

After Release from the hospital he was assigned as Commanding Officer Naval Air Station, St. Simons Island, GA. 

He retired from the Navy as Rear Admiral in 1947.  He joined the faculty of Cogswell College upon retirement from the Navy, and at the time of his death in 1968, was Vice President and Dean of Men for the college.

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Submarine Officer Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)USS West Virginia (BB-48)Submarine School (diesel)USS Claxton (DD-571)
US NavyCommander Naval Amphibious Forces Pacific (COMPHIBPAC)
  1925-1928, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1928-1930, USS West Virginia (BB-48)
  1930-1931, Submarine School (diesel)
  1942-1943, USS Claxton (DD-571)
  1943-1944, USS Hoel (DD-533)
  1944-1944, USS Hoel (DD-533)
  1944-1944, Commander Third Amphibious Force, Commander Naval Amphibious Forces Pacific (COMPHIBPAC)
  1944-1944, CTG 77.4
  1944-1945, NAS Balboa, Panama
  1945-1947, NAS St. Simons Island, GA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1944-1944 World War II
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Samar
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1925-1928, United States Naval Academy
  1950-1968, Cogswell Polytechnical College
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Short biography of: William Dow Thomas, U.S. Navy
  Nov 22, 1963, Memories of a student and friend.
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