David R. Thomas

Ohio Historical Society
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00:00:07 - Introduction and serving with the Marine Corps

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Segment Synopsis: David R. Thomas was born in Ravenna, Ohio in 1957. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in 1976 and in the Ohio National Guard in 1981. In his interview he talks about his early life, joining the United States Marine Corp, his basic training, and his Military Occupational Specialty. Thomas discusses his life as a Marine, medical issues, and choice to leave the Marine Corp in 1978.

Keywords: Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (N.C.); Parris Island (S.C. : Recruit depot); Ravenna (Ohio); United States. Marine Corps. Platoon 378; University of Akron

Subjects: Childhood; Decision to leave; Enlisting with the Marines

GPS: Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (N.C.)
Map Coordinates: 34.9201065,-76.9665698
00:20:11 - Joining the Ohio National Guard

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Segment Synopsis: Thomas enlisted in the Ohio National Guard in 1981 and became full-time Active Guard Reserve in 1986. He explains the numerous positions and stations he served in while he was with the Active Guard Reserve until 1993 when he rejoined the traditional Guard and took a job as a police officer in Brimfield, Ohio.

Keywords: Boise (Idaho); Brimfield (Ohio); Cincinnati (Ohio); Cleveland (Ohio); Columbus (Ohio); Ohio. Army National Guard. Armored Cavalry, 107th; Ohio. Army National Guard. Regiment, 148th; Ohio. National Guard. Brigade Combat Team, 37th; US Army Sergeants Major Academy; Wisconsin

Subjects: Full-time; Joining the Guard; Promotions and assignments

GPS: Brimfield (Ohio)
Map Coordinates: 41.1002872,-81.4166508
00:38:41 - Deployments to Iraq and Kuwait

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Segment Synopsis: Thomas was deployed to Iraq in February of 2004 attached to a National Guard unit out of North Carolina. He recounts his memories of 9/11, returning to the Guard full-time, his pre-mobilization at Fort Bragg, and reinforcing Humvees in Kuwait. He speaks about being sent as part of an advance party to Forward Operating Base Cobra in Iraq, rocket attacks on the base, protecting polling places, and the police in Iraq. He speaks Iraqi customs and culture, his feelings about his mission, what daily life was like on base, and some missions of which he was apart. Thomas describes Iraqi towns, several Iraqi acquaintances, and returning home. In 2007 he deploys to Kuwait where he runs a supply depot for other forward operating bases in the area. He discusses the differences between deployments, meeting the real band of brothers, and woodworking.

Keywords: Camp Arifjan (Kuwait); Forward Operating Base Caldwell (Iraq); Forward Operating Base Cobra (Iraq); Jalawla (Iraq); North Carolina. National Guard. Brigade Combat Team, 30th; Sadiyah (Iraq); September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001.; Way we were (D-Day Publishing)

Subjects: Armoring Humvees; Coming Home; Meeting the Band of brothers; Memories of 9/11; The mission; Woodworking; Working with Iraqis

GPS: Forward Operating Base Cobra (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 34.1838639,45.0285906
GPS: Camp Arifjan (Kuwait)
Map Coordinates: 28.878, 48.1579
01:59:15 - Deployment to Afghanistan and reflecting on service

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Segment Synopsis: 60 days after returning from his last deployment to Iraq Thomas learns that he will be deploying again to Afghanistan. He talks about finally becoming a sergeant major, their pre-deployment training, and his new role. Thomas describes their mission, his first convoy, what Afghanistan was like, and how it was different from his Iraq deployment. He discusses his interest in other cultures, his homecoming, and career since. Thomas concludes by talking about the people he has met in the military, how the Guard has changed over the years, and what people should know about those who serve in the military.

Keywords: Camp Arifjan (Kuwait); Camp Marmal (Afghanistan); Camp Shelby (Miss.); Camp Spann (Afghanistan); Fort Bragg (Calif.); Forward Operating Base Dehdadi II; Forward Operating Base Khilagay (Afghanistan); Ohio. National Guard. Brigade Combat Team, 37th; United States. Army. Brigade Support Battalion, 237th

Subjects: Coming home; Convoys; Deployment to Afghanistan; Leadership; Life on Base; Reflections

GPS: Forward Operating Base Dehdadi II (Afghanistan)
Map Coordinates: 36.6685343,67.0081822