b. 23/05/1914 Atlanta, Georgia. d. 17/08/1942 Makin, Gilbert Islands.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 17/08/1942 Makin, Gilbert Islands.
Clyde A. Thomason was born in Atlanta, Georgia on May 23, 1914, and after his graduation from high school there, traveled widely throughout the United States in a "jalopy" with companions. In December 1934, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in Savannah, Georgia. Although he was named for his father, at the time of his enlistment he dropped the "A" of his father's name and became known in the Marine Corps simply as Clyde Thomason. This was the name under which he enlisted in 1934 and was the name subsequently used in official Marine Corps records. He later served in the Marine Detachment of the USS Augusta, Flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, and was honorably discharged in 1939 upon the expiration of his enlistment. The day following his discharge, he was retained in the Fleet Marine Force Reserve. When he again became a civilian, he accepted a position with the Albany, Georgia, branch of the Fire Companies Adjustment Bureau, Inc., and Albany became his home in February 1940.
Thomason re-enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in January 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He asked for action, and when Lt. Col. Evans Carlson was organizing his famous Raiders, Thomason volunteered.
Because he was so tall, 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m), and weighed 190 pounds (86 kg); he had to ask for a height waiver to get into the Raiders. He received his training in California before going to the Pacific battlefields in April for duty with the 2nd Raider Battalion.
Letters that he wrote to friends in Albany, Georgia 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, Lt.Col. Carlson, and of Maj. James Roosevelt, second in command. Lt.Col. Carlson thought so highly of Sgt. Thomason that he selected him to lead the advance element against the Japanese garrison at Butaritari. It was there that Sgt. Thomason's gallantry in action earned him the Medal of Honor.
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.
BURIAL LOCATION: ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.
Section 60, Grave 8037
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