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Randal E. Thomas - Vietnam War

Randy Thomas served as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 5th Special Forces Group in the I-Corps sector of South Vietnam from May, 1968 to May of 1969. For the first seven months he was assigned to a Special Forces A-team which supported company sized Vietnamese units as they conducted patrols. He spent the remainder of his tour working on a Special Forces B-team as the unit S-5, Psychological Officer. Upon the completion of his tour he returned to Illinois, earned a teaching certificate, and worked at Hillsboro High School while also serving in the Illinois Army National Guard as an infantry officer. In 2003 he became Illinois's Adjutant General.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt

OCS was a defining moment

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early life, basic training, Officer Candidate School and SF training

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Experiences in S. Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Life in Vietnam and post-war career in education and IL National Guard


Photos

Caption

Private Randal Thomas’s Basic Training graduation photograph at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri in the summer of 1966.

Where:

Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri

When:

Summer of 1966

Ownership:

Unknown

Caption

Ellsworth Thomas pins 2nd lieutenant bars on his son, Randal Thomas at Ft. Benning Georgia in May, 1967 following Randy’s completion of Infantry OCS.

Where:

Ft. Benning Georgia

When:

May, 1967

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Randy Thomas proudly stands by his Shelby G.T. 350 Ford in 1967 while he was enrolled in the Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Randy sold the car after his return from Vietnam.

Where:

Ft. Benning, Georgia

When:

1967

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A view of the A-102 command bunker and team house on compound high ground in Tien Phuc, South Vietnam, in 1968.

Where:

Tien Phuc, South Vietnam

When:

1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Thomas joined in on a spirited game of marbles with a group of local children during the summer of 1968 while he visited a school in the town of Tien Phuoc.

Where:

Tien Phuoc

When:

Summer of 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The entire A-102 team (minus two soldiers) gets their portrait taken in front of the command bunker at Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam in August, 1968, with each member displaying different weapons.

Where:

Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam

When:

August, 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Randy Thomas listed the team members of A-102 on the back of the photo in the previous image.

Where:

Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam

When:

August, 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Thomas takes a break on top of a machinegun Bunker at A-102 in Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam in the fall of 1968.

Where:

Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam

When:

Fall of 1968

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Nine members of Randy Thomas’s A-team pose in front of a hardened machinegun bunker at Tien Phuoc in August, 1968.

Where:

Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam

When:

August, 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Thomas supervises Vietnamese troops at a weapons range in Tien Phuoc in late 1968.

Where:

Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam

When:

Late 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Thomas poses in front of a building in Da Nang in December of 1968. He had just been transferred to a Special Forces B-team.

Where:

Da Nang

When:

December of 1968

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A fellow B-team soldier joins a group of Vietnamese as Lieutenant Thomas’s B-team moved out from Tien Phuoc in early 1969.

Where:

Tien Phuoc

When:

Early 1969

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Thomas’s Special Forces B-team with a Mike force company of Montagnard troops prepare for a patrol while at Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam in early 1969.

Where:

Tien Phuoc, South Vietnam

When:

Early 1969

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

B-Team member Lieutenant Thomas, who served as the unit’s S-5, plans a mission with his staff in Da Nang in the spring of 1969.

Where:

Da Nang

When:

Spring of 1969

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Thomas, wearing Tiger BDUs, a Vietnamese uniform, waits in Tien Phuoc for an airlift back to Da Nang in early 1969.

Where:

Tien Phuoc

When:

Early 1969

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Lieutenant Thomas fights boredom while he manned a radio watch during his assignment to a Special Forces B-team in Da Nang in the spring of 1969.

Where:

Da Nang

When:

Spring of 1969

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Major General Randal Thomas, the Adjutant General, with his son, 1st LT Zachary Thomas, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, at Al Taqaddum, at a Marine base near Fallujah, while the General visited his troops in February, 2006.

Where:

Al Taqaddum, near Fallujah

When:

February, 2006

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Adjutant General Randy Thomas gave welcoming comments to a Civil War encampment in front of the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois circa 2007. Larry Werline played U.S. Grant, and Fritz Kline portrayed Lincoln.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

Circa 2007

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

General Thomas, on behalf of the National Guard Association of Illinois, presented a minuteman statue to U.S. Senator Barack Obama in 2007 at NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Where:

Washington, D.C.

When:

2007

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo



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