Richard Thomas was born, raised, and educated in Grand River. He graduated from Grand Valley Community High School in 1977.

Richard enlisted in the U.S. Army December 28th, 1976, in the Delayed Entry Program. After finishing high school Richard entered basic training and trained as a Track Vehicle Mechanic at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Pvt Thomas was assigned to Charlie Battery 3r8 Battalion, 6th Field Artillery, Fort Riley, Kansas. During this assignment, he worked on M­110 self propelled Howitzers, M-578 full tracked cargo carriers, 2 V2 and 5 ton trucks. In 1979, participated in REFORGER 79, Reinforcement of Forces to Genuany. SPC Thomas left active duty in October 1980.

Richard enlisted in the 3654th Maintenance Company, Direct Support Detachment 1, Army National Guard in 1982, as a Turret Mechanic. In 1983, SPC Thomas attended Basic Non-Commissioned Officers (BNOC) course at Camp Dodge, Iowa. In 1985, SPC Thomas re-entered active duty when he accepted a position in the Active Guard Reserve (AGR) program.

Detachment 3, 3654 Maintenance Company's mission was to support the Iowa National Guard's need for repair parts. As a warehouseman, SPC Thomas was responsible for the receipt, storage, issue and shipment of repair parts for the Class IX activity.

In 1987, SPC Thomas attended Primary leadership Development Course (PLDC), at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana. In January 1991, SGT Thomas was activated for Federal Active Service for operation Desert Storm. SGT Thomas was assigned to the National Support Battalion, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, During this mobilization, the 3654th
Maintenance Company's mission was to support the 48th Brigade for deployment to Saudi Arabia, while training up on the M-1 Abram's Battle Tank and M-2 /M-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle. During this deployment SSG Thomas was NCOIC FOR Repairable Exchange Activity supporting the rotating unit's needs for repairable parts.

The 3654th Maintenance Company was de-activated in May 1991, and returned to Camp Dodge, Iowa. In 1995, SSG Thomas attended the Advanced Non-Commissioned Officers course (ANCOC) at Fort Lee, Virginia. SSG Thomas was then assigned as the warehouse supervisor for the Class IX activity. In 1996, the Class IX activity was de-activated and SSG Thomas then transferred to the National Maintenance Training Center (NTC), Camp Dodge, as a warehouse­man then as the motor sergeant. The mission of the NTC was to certify Maintenance Company's ability to perform their wartime mission. These maintenance units that rotate through the NTC are National Guard, Army Reserve and active Army. As the motor sergeant SSG Thomas was responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles and materiel handling equipment for the National Maintenance Training Center as well as the coordination of the transportation requirements of the units rotating through the NTC. SSG Thomas was then promoted to Sergeant First Class and returned to the warehouse. While assigned to the warehouse, SFC Thomas was responsible for the training of warehousemen and their supervisors to ensure that they could perform their unit's mission. SFC Thomas was also responsible for the receipt, storage, issue and shipment of repair parts as well as the accuracy of the inventory of the warehouse, which was worth over 11/4-million dollars worth of repair parts.

SFC Thomas accepted a job with the Osceola Police Department in November 2004, and began terminal leave. SFC Thomas retired from active duty in March 2005.

Awards received: Meritorious Service, Army Commendation, Army Achievement, Iowa Meritorious Service, 8 Army Good Conduct Medals, Iowa Commendation,2 National Defense Service Medals, Global War on Terrorism, Humanitarian Service Award, Armed Forces Reserve Medal w M device, 3 Non-Commissioned Officers' Develop Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and Force Support Package Ribbon.




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Last Revised June 14, 2015