Retired Aug. 1, 1976.
Chaplain (Brigadier General) Thomas M. Groome Jr. is deputy chief of chaplains, U.S. Air Force. He assists the chief of chaplains, U.S. Air Force, in establishing and maintaining an effective chaplain program for Air Force personnel and their families. He recommends basic plans, policies, programs and requirements for the chaplaincy and performs a continuing analysis of personnel and resource needs essential for effective support of the chaplain program.
Chaplain Groome was born in Greensboro, N.C., in 1921. He graduated from Newtown High School, Elmhurst, N.Y., in 1940, and then attended Houghton College, Houghton, N.Y., for two years. He received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Houghton College, 1947; a master of divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary, 1950; and a master of science degree in international affairs from The George Washington University, 1965.
Chaplain Groome entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in September 1942, attended training as a radio operator mechanic at Scott Field, Ill., then entered the Air Corps technical cadet program at Valley Forge Military Institute, and from there went to the Air Corps Technical School at Yale University. Upon completion of this program, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in June 1943.
Chaplain Groome then served as communications officer at Hunter Field, Ga.; Sarasota Army Air Base, Fla.; on the 1943-1944 Louisiana Maneuvers; at Bowman Field, Ky.; and Baer Field, Ind. In July 1944 Chaplain Groome was transferred to India. He served 15 months in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, returned to the United States in October 1945, and was separated from military service in March 1946.
Chaplain Groome then attended the Columbia University School of Business. In September 1946 he returned to Houghton College and graduated in May 1947. He then attended the Biblical Seminary in New York for one year, and Western Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church in Holland, Mich., from which he graduated with a master of divinity degree in May 1950. Chaplain Groome was ordained in June 1950 by the Reformed Church in America and served the Lawyersville Reformed Church, Lawyersville, N.Y.
In June 1951 Chaplain Groome was recalled to active military duty and entered the U.S. Army Chaplain School at Fort Slocum, N.Y. In July 1951 he was assigned as assistant wing chaplain at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., and in August 1952 was transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, where he served as chaplain for the 10th Air Division and visited remote sites in Alaska and on the Aleutian Islands.
In June 1954 Chaplain Groome moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and served as base chaplain. In June 1957 he went to Erding Air Base, Germany, and was wing and base chaplain. From there he moved to Lincoln Air Force Base, Neb., as base chaplain. In December 1962 he was transferred to Thule Air Base, Greenland, as wing and base chaplain; and in January 1964, became wing chaplain at James Connally Air Force Base, Texas. He entered the Air War College in August 1964, and upon graduation, became assistant staff chaplain for 26th Air Division and then First Air Force at Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y.
Chaplain Groome moved to the Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in February 1967, as chief of the Professional Division. His responsibilities included planning and implementing programs for Air Force personnel and their dependents; continuing education of chaplains; staff supervision of the Air Force Chaplain School; managing the Air Force chaplain film library; and staff supervision of the U.S. Air Force Chaplain Board. In April 1971 Chaplain Groome became command chaplain of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Lindsey Air Station, Germany.
Chaplain Groome was assigned as deputy chief of chaplains, U.S. Air Force, with office at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., in July 1974.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general effective May 8, 1974, with date of rank May 7, 1974.