COL Thomas received an active duty commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army through University of Louisville’s ROTC program (Dec 1997). His education includes a Bachelor of Science from the University of Louisville, Master of Public Administration from American Military University, and Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College (USAWC Resident Class of 2019).
COL Thomas’ military education includes the Ordnance Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Command & General Staff Officer Course, the RC National Security Course (National Defense University), Senior Service College and Joint Professional Military Education II (USAWC), the Air Assault and Basic Airborne Courses, and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) Jumpmaster Course. He is an alumni fellow of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and holds several additional skill identifiers, including fully Joint Qualified Officer, Special Operations Support Officer, Paratrooper, and Jumpmaster.
After graduation from the Ordnance Officer Basic Course (Aug 1998), he reported to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and was assigned to the 426th Forward Support Battalion, where he served as a Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Maintenance Control Officer and Support Operations Maintenance Officer for the 1st Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne”.
COL Thomas has commanded organizations consisting of Paratroopers, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines as a CPT, MAJ, and LTC; most recently in 2017 as the Commander of a forward deployed and geographically dispersed Joint Special Operations Forces Support Detachment under Special Operations Command – Central (SOCCENT) covering the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.
His key command and staff assignments include: Company Commander, 723rd Main Support Company (Airborne) and Battalion S3, Special Troops Battalion, Sustainment Brigade (Special Operations) (Airborne); Brigade S4, 308th Civil Affairs Brigade, 353rd Civil Affairs Command, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne); Commandant, Regional Training Site-Maintenance, 80th Training Command; Chief, Joint Logistics Operations Center, NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan / Special Operations Joint Task Force – Afghanistan (NSOCC-A / SOJTF-A); Chief, J7 Strategy and Synchronization Branch, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM); Commander, Joint Special Operations Support Detachment, SOCCENT, USSOCOM; and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Force Development (DCS G3/5/7), 9th Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Pacific. COL Thomas assumed command of the 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center on 29 June, 2021.
COL Thomas’ overseas deployments were in support of Combined and Joint Special Operations during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (Afghanistan), the NATO RESOLUTE SUPPORT MISSION (Afghanistan), OPERATION FREEDOM’S SENTINEL, and OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE.
His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2 Campaign Stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and The Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe. He is authorized permanent wear of the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for service with NSOCC-A / SOJTF-A (2014-2015), as well as the Army Superior Unit Award for service with Army Human Resources Command (2012-2013). His foreign awards and decorations include the Polish Star of Afghanistan, the German Master Parachutist Badge (Gold), the Irish Defense Forces Parachutist Wings, and the Royal Australian Parachutist Badge.
COL Thomas is married to the former Angela Marie Newton of Louisville, KY. They have two daughters, Kayla Marie (26) and Megan Michelle (23), and a son, Joseph Larry III (Trey; 16).