Greensboro (NC) Daily News - March 13, 1968Posted on 3/9/16 - by Jim McIlhenney email@example.comSergeant Dies 'Way He Wanted'MORE
HE WAS A DEDICATED ARMY MAN
By Robert M. Aumen
Daily News Staff Writer
"He was a dedicated Army man and I know that he died the way he wanted to - serving his country," said Mrs. Muriel Wheeler Thomas of Lafayette, Ga.
Mrs. Thomas was speaking of her husband, Army Sergeant First Class James E. Thomas, a Greensboro native who was fatally wounded Feb. 28 in Vietnam.
Thomas, 31, son of Mrs. Florence Thomas Lemons of 131 W. McCulloch St., had been in Vietnam only 18 days. He was a platoon leader with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, a special support unit.
His wife said that he joined the Army in 1955 after attending Dudley High School. His 12 years of military service had included three tours of duty in Korea, she said.
MRS. THOMAS, who lives with her parents about 100 miles north of Atlanta and 25 miles south of Chattanooga, said she met her husband while in the Women's Army Corps. Both were stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco in California.
"I met him in 1963, and we were married in February, 1964," she said. One child, Sonja Yvette, now 3 years old, was born to the marriage.
The Vietnam widow said her husband "liked the Army. And when he got his orders to go to Vietnam, he was ready to go because that was his duty."
Thomas left Ft. Lewis, Wash., on Feb 8 for Vietnam. His wife received letters from him daily, the last one on Feb 27.
"He often complained of being tired and not getting enough sleep," she said. "He said his unit mostly fought at night. He never complained of the heat, just said it was very warm."
THE VETERAN soldier also wrote about the week of R and R - rest and recreation - that he would get in June. "I had planned to join him then in Hawaii," Mrs. Thomas said.
As to the future, "I haven't decided where I will live. I will stay with my parents until I get things straightened out and then I will find a home somewhere for my daughter and me."
"I'm not brave, really, but I'm trying to accept things that I know I cannot change," the young widow said.
Thomas' body will arrive here today and will be at Hargett Funeral Home. The funeral will be 2 p.m. Thursday in Hargett's Memorial Chapel.
THOMAS WILL be buried according to his wife's wish, at 4 p.m. Thursday in the National Cemetery in Salisbury. "I plan to be buried beside him," she said.
Survivors other than the widow, daughter and mother are brothers, Lawrence and Charles Thomas of Greensboro; half-sister, Miss Doris Lemons of Greensboro; and half-brother, Phillip Thomas of Greensboro.
Salute to a Fallen VeteranPosted on 4/23/15 - by Jim and Tom Reece and Rosa King and Burgess Baily:.. firstname.lastname@example.orgYou gave your life for your Country, for this we Salute you.
Remembering An American HeroPosted on 12/1/13 - by Curt Carter email@example.comDear SFC James Ernest Thomas, sirMORE
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
God BlessPosted on 4/13/06 - by ILT Steve McGoldrick firstname.lastname@example.orgGod Bless you, Sgt. Thomas-you were a damn fine soldier and a good man, and you will not be forgotten.
Never ForgottenPosted on 1/3/06 - by Bill Nelson email@example.comFOREVER REMEMBEREDMORE
"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle hero’s you left behind...."
Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell
KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and Killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.
We Nam Brothers pause to give a backward glance, and post this remembrance to you, one of the gentle heros lost to the War in Vietnam:
Slip off that pack. Set it down by the crooked trail. Drop your steel pot alongside. Shed those magazine-ladened bandoliers away from your sweat-soaked shirt. Lay that silent weapon down and step out of the heat. Feel the soothing cool breeze right down to your soul ... and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.
From your Nam-Band-Of-Brothers
We RememberPosted on 1/15/05 - by Robert Sage firstname.lastname@example.orgJames is buried at Salisbury Nat Cem.
The Wall of Faces
Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.
All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.