Charles L. Thomas

Ranked #119 on the list Best Military Person of All Time

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Based on 3 votes

About Charles L. Thomas

  • Participated in conflicts: World War II

Major Charles Leroy Thomas (April 17, 1920-February 15, 1980) was a United States Army officer who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions while a company commander during the capture of Climbach, France in 1944 — the second African American to be awarded one during World War II. This award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor awarded posthumously in 1997. Prior to the war he had worked as a molder for the Ford Motor Company, and was a student at Wayne State University when he joined the Army in January 1942. He was assigned to the 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and sent to Officer Candidate School; he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 1943 and returned to his battalion, deploying with it to England and then to North-Western Europe. On December 14, 1944, Thomas led a task force storming Climbach, consisting of a platoon from the 756th Tank Battalion and a reinforced company of the 411th Infantry Regiment, 103rd Infantry Division, led by a platoon of his tank destroyers. Approaching Climbach, Thomas' armored scout car was knocked out by enemy fire and he was wounded. The lieutenant helped his crew out of the vehicle, but as he left the car's

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