Thomas Henry Als
Thomas H. Als was born August 4, 1946 to parents Harold and Pearl Als of Hampton, Iowa. He attended schools there in Hampton, graduating from Hampton High School in May of 1964. He enrolled in Hamilton Business College in Mason City, Iowa and attended for about 4 months in accounting until his selective service number was coming closer. He and 3 other of his friends from High School enlisted in the Navy's Buddy program and reported to Cornado, CA. He graduated from basic returning home on leave where he met his future wife, Linda Tapps. After his leave, he returned to California and completed survival training. He was assigned to the USS Waddell as a SK5. He was in the Gulf of Ton.ken to begin with; his duty station was the 12" gun (this was responsible for future hearing loss because of the poor ear protection that was provided). Part of their duty was to provide gun support for the shores of Vietnam. One evening during a blackout, his ship was run into by the USS Brinkley Bass and created an above-the waterline hole in the bow of his ship. He was then assigned to duty on shore in DaNang and delivered supplies where needed to different outpost where men where fighting. He went up to the DMZ as well as up the Saigon River where his boots and socks were constantly wet with the spray we now know as Agent Orange (this I only found out in 2014 after his cancer diagnosis and he was telling this to our local VA rep in Mason City). On completion of his time in DaNang, he returned home to his soon-to-be fiance'. He reported then to Charleston, S.C. and reassigned to the ship the USS Holland which took him to assignments in Holland and eventually Rota, Spain. Here he fractured his ankle going in after completion of his duty on July 4th to celebrate the holiday with friends. He ended up having his ankle casted by medics his 4th celebration was cut short! He was discharged through Philadelphia and returned home. He married Linda Tapps on Dec. 13, 1969. To this union were born 2 children: a daugther in 1973 and a son in 1976. He returned to Hamilton Business College and got his degree in accounting and worked for Park Hospital and later on Interstate Power Company utilizing his education. He had 3 grandsons that he spent much of his time with when visiting his daughter and family and son and family; they were the joy of his life and he didn't mind spoiling them. In November of 2011, he was diagnosed with renal (kidney) cancer and endured many surgeries due to the metastasis of the cancer to just about every bone in his body. He endured various chemotherapies, MRis, CT scans, xrays and radiation and would've continued had his body not worn out. He never complained and accepting of all treatments prescribed until the summer of2016 when time ran out for this brave sailor. He left us silently at the Muse Norris Inpatient Hospice Unit in Mason City, on July 1, 2016. He was given a veteran's funeral. He was proud of serving in the United States Navy . His only disappointment was never being acknowledged for his service as were the veterans of the Iraq, etc wars. He was loyal to his flag and his country. His family misses him greatly!