CLYDE A. THOMASON, USMCR (DECEASED)
Medal of Honor Citation
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.
World War II 1941-1945 Medal of Honor