Thursday, June 30, 2016

SSG Melvin Francis Thomas

courtesy of Séb
SSG Melvin Francis Thomas was born 4 Sep 1911 in Botetourt County, Virginia. He was the 2nd of 3 children born to George Washington and Rebecca Jane (Martin) Thomas. His father worked as a farm hand and they lived for several years near Clover Hill, Virginia. Melvin apparently didn't go to school past the 8th grade and went to work in a shoe factory. 

Melvin also enlisted in the Virginia National Guard serving in G Company 116th Infantry, the Farmville, Virginia unit. It is likely that the $4 or so a month income was pretty attractive at that time. When the unit was federalized on 3 Feb 1941, Melvin was a 30-year old PVT as he trained with the unit at Fort George Meade, Maryland, in the Carolina Maneuvers, and Camp Blanding, Florida before the unit was sent to England aboard the Queen Mary in September 1942. Once there he trained with his unit in preparation for the planned amphibious landing and invasion of Nazi occupied France. PFC  Thomas landed with his unit on 6 Jun 1944. Due to the extensive losses on 6 Jun 1944, the entire regiment had to go through a period of taking in replacements and reorganization. Melvin must have demonstrated leadership in the first 2-weeks of the fighting in France as he was promoted to SSG on 20 Jun 1944. SSG Thomas was killed in action on 30 Jun 1944. 

SSG Thomas rests forever in the Normandy American Cemetery

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