Loomis, Thomas, CAPT

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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1974-1974, CNO - OPNAV/Pentagon Navy Command Center (NCC)
Service Years
1944 - 1974

 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 Loomis, Thomas (Tom), CAPT.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Born in Perry, raised in Enid Okla.
Last Address
San Antonio Hill Country Retreat,
San Antonio, Texas

Date of Passing
Dec 19, 2014
Location of Interment
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery - San Antonio, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin US Navy Retired 30

 Unofficial Badges 

US Navy Honorable Discharge Order of the Shellback Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club Order of the Golden Dragon

Cold War Veteran

 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of the Purple HeartAustin Chapter
  1953, Military Order of the Purple Heart - Assoc. Page
  2000, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Austin Chapter (Austin, Texas) [Verified] - Chap. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Captain Thomas A. Loomis was a career military man who flew combat missions in the Korean War and briefly commanded the naval aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ticonderoga during the Vietnam War.

Loomis was born in Perry, Okla. on August 26, 1925 and grew up in nearby Enid during the height of the Dust Bowl. At 16 years old he was too young to enlist when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor 1941. He joined an ROTC program the following summer and first experienced Navy life during a summer sea cruise on the U.S.S. West Virginia.

But flying had been a dream of his since his 14th birthday, when his father paid 50 cents for him to ride in a tri-motor plane over Enid at sunset. So he jumped at a chance to train to become a pilot in 1944.

Loomis was only about halfway through his training when World War II ended. After discharge he enrolled in the University of Michigan to study forestry. Upon graduating in 1947, he briefly took a job in Detroit for the Boy Scouts of America until he reentered the Navy as an officer flight student in 1948.

Thus began his true life’s work. In the Korean War, he flew bombing missions near the border of China and North Korea. He was wounded by shrapnel in a mission, and his efforts earned him an air medal and a purple heart.

After Korea, he served as a flight instructor in Pensacola, Fla. and later hunted Soviet submarines from aboard aircraft carriers in the western Atlantic. Those missions were occasionally eventful, too. One time, his plane lost power after it was struck by lightning. Another time, he had to wrestle controls away from a commanding officer who suffered vertigo while piloting.

During the Vietnam War, Loomis was assigned to the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga in the Gulf of Tonkin. He spent a year navigating the ship and then rose to executive officer. On his second deployment Loomis was named captain of the ship, and he served in that role for about two months.

After his service in Vietnam, Loomis earned a master’s degree in Systems Management and spent a brief time working at the Pentagon before retiring from active duty in 1974.

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  Loomis was a Navy captain
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Last Updated:
Feb 25, 2015

Thomas Loomis was 14 years old when he sailed through the air for the first time.

As a birthday treat, Loomis' father paid 50 cents to send his son on a sunset ride in a Ford tri-motor plane over Enid, OK.

As he flew over his house and other familiar landmarks, he knew that he wanted to fly.

"Even though he grew up in the Depression and in the Dust Bowl, he grew up with a positive upbringing. There wasn't anything that he thought he couldn't do," said his daughter Christine Watkins.

Loomis died Dec. 19. He was 89.

Too young to join the military when America entered World War II, Loomis joined the ROTC instead.

When he graduated from high school, Loomis joined the Navy to begin pilot training. He was halfway through the program when World War II ended.

"He wasn't disappointed that the war ended, but the training program kind of fell apart. They didn't need as many men," Watkins said.

Loomis was discharged shortly after the end of the war. He enrolled in the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in forestry. In 1948, Loomis returned to the Navy as an officer flight student.

His work inside the cockpit began during the Korean War, where he participated in bombing missions near the borders of China and North Korea.

"He was kind of a photography buff, he would take his camera up in the plane with him and he'd take pictures of flying over a carrier or the bay," Watkins said. "He really liked the visual sensations and the beauty of flying."

Deteriorating vision grounded the pilot, but he remained near planes during the Vietnam War.

Loomis served on the USS Ticonderoga in the Gulf of Tonkin as a navigator, executive officer and interim captain for two months.

After Vietnam, Loomis earned his masters degree in Systems Management and worked at the Pentagon until he retired from active duty in 1974.

Loomis then entered academia, working at the University of Texas at Austin as assistant dean in the school of business. As director of development, he raised more than $34 million dollars.

In honor of his accomplishments, the school established the Thomas A. Loomis Endowed Lectureship in Business Administration in 1984. A scholarship fund bearing his name still exists today.

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