Leland Evan Thomas

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Leland Evan Thomas
Born(1918-09-20)September 20, 1918
Ontario, Oregon
DiedSeptember 18, 1942(1942-09-18) (aged 23)
Solomon Islands
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps Reserve
Years of service1941–1942
RankSecond Lieutenant
Battles/warsWorld War II
*Guadalcanal campaign
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross (posthumous)

Leland Evan Thomas (September 20, 1918 – September 18, 1942) was a decorated United States Marine Corps Reserve pilot of World War II.

Early life[edit]

Thomas was born on September 20, 1918 in Ontario, Oregon.

Marine Corps career[edit]

Thomas enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on September 10, 1941 and was appointed air cadet on October 15, 1941. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on April 17, 1942.

While serving in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II, Thomas contributed to the sinking of an Imperial Japanese Navy cruiser and destroyer. He was killed in action at Guadalcanal during the Guadalcanal campaign on 18 September 1942 while launching an aggressive attack on Japanese warships.

Honors and awards[edit]

Distinguished Flying Cross[edit]

Thomas posthumously received the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation read in part:

...for heroism and extraordinary achievement as a pilot....His indomitable fighting spirit was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


The United States Navy destroyer escort USS Leland E. Thomas (DE-420) was named in Thomas's honor. She was commissioned on June 19, 1944 and served until May 1946.

See also[edit]

Other articles of the topics Biography AND World War II : Denver Randleman, Eugene Morland Key, Chester Thomas O'Brien, Lawrence Coburn Taylor, Willis Ricketts, Maurice Joseph Manuel, Bert C. Edmonds

Other articles of the topic Biography : Willard Keith, Erica Boyer, Reginald V. Smith, Ethel Merman, Phillip E. Stackhouse, William Mackenzie Davidson, Ilham Al-Fadhala

Other articles of the topic World War II : John William Haas, Andrew Kenneth Waterman, Clancy Lyall, John Joseph Gilligan Jr., Frank O. Slater, George Heyliger, Eugene Blair
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This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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