The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

United States Marine Corps Reserve
Clyde Thomason



Sergeant Clyde Thomason
United States Marine Corps Reserve

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while a member of the Second Marine Raider Battalion in action against the Japanese-held island of Makin on August 17- 18, 1942. Landing the advance element of the assault echelon, Sergeant Thomason disposed his men with keen judgment and discrimination and by his exemplary leadership and great personal valor, exhorted them to like fearless efforts. On one occasion, he dauntlessly walked up to a house which concealed an enemy Japanese sniper, forced in the door and shot the man before he could resist. Later in the action, while leading an assault on enemy position, he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. His courage and loyal devotion to duty in the face of grave peril were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Footnote:   Sergeant Thomason was the first Marine during WWII to recieve the Medal of Honor

Sergeant Clyde A. Thomason was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at the cost of his life while leading an assault on Makin Island, 17 August 1942.

Clyde A. Thomason was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on 23 May 1914, and after his graduation from high school there, traveled widely throughout the United States in a "jalopy" with companions. In December of 1934, he enlisted in the Marines in Savannah, Georgia. He later served in China and was honorably discharged in 1939 upon the expiration of his enlistment. The day following his discharge, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve.

When he again became a civilian, he accepted a position with the Albany, Georgia, branch of the General Adjustment Bureau, Inc., and Albany became his home in February 1940. He immediately reenlisted in the Marine Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He asked for action, and when LtCol Evans F. Carlson was organizing his famous Raiders, he volunteered.

Because of his height --- he was 6 feet 4 and weighed 190 pounds --- he had to ask for a waiver on his height to get in the Raiders. He received his training in California before leaving for the Pacific battlefields in April for duty with the 2d Raider Battalion.

Letters that he wrote to Albany friends during the time of his service in the Pacific show that he wanted to be "where things are happening." He refused to accept assignments which would keep him away from action.

He wrote of his commanding officer, LtCol Carlson, and of Maj Jimmy Roosevelt, second in command. LtCol Carlson thought so highly of Sgt Thomason that he selected him to lead the advance element against the enemy at Makin. It was there that Sgt Thomason's gallantry in action earned for him the Medal of Honor. The honor was conferred posthumously and the Medal was presented to his mother by Under Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, at ceremonies in January 1943 in Washington, D.C.

Following his death, the people of Georgia bought a sufficient number of War Bonds to purchase for the Navy a fighting destroyer escort. In April 1943 that destroyer was christened the USS Thomason.

In 1957, in ceremonies at the Marine Corps Supply Center, Albany, Georgia, a new gymnasium building was formally dedicated in Sgt Thomason's name.

On 17 August 2001, Sgt Thomason's remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

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