Retired Jan. 31, 1955. Died March 1, 1969.
Charles E. Thomas Jr. was born at Atlanta, Ga., in 1896. He became a flying cadet Oct. 11, 1917, and entered the School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Texas in Austin. He completed the course there in April 1918 and transferred to Camp Dick, Texas, for flying training. The following month he was assigned to Scott Field, Ill., and Aug. 24, 1918 was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve.
He entered the Flying Instructors' School at Brooks Field, Texas, in September 1918 and upon completing the course a month later went to Love Field, Texas, as a flying instructor. In March 1919 he became a flying instructor at Ellington Field, Texas, and the following June went to Kelly Field, Texas, to take the aeronautical engineering course at the Air Service Mechanics School. After completing the course in November 1919 he served successively at Park Field, Tenn., and Wilbur Wright Depot, Ohio. In January 1920 he went to Fairfield, Ohio, for duty at the Aviation General Supply Depot.
On July 1, 1920, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the Air Service of the Regular Army and that same date was promoted to first lieutenant.
He became deputy adjutant of the Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot in March 1922 and the following November assumed the duties of depot supply officer at that station.
In May 1926 he went to Camp Nichols, Philippine Islands, as personnel adjutant and became assistant supply officer for the Philippine Air Depot at Camp Nichols a year later.
He returned to the United States in December 1928 for assignment to the Rockwell (California) Air Depot as chief inspector for the Engineering Department. He became supply officer at the San Antonio, Texas, Air Depot in May 1929, and in October 1932 was appointed assistant post operations officer at Maxwell Field, Ala. He became operations officer at Maxwell Field in July 1933.
He entered the Army Industrial College in Washington, D.C., in September 1934, and graduated the following June. A month later he returned to Maxwell Field, where he entered the Air Corps Tactical School. He graduated in June 1936, at which time he entered the Army War College in Washington, D.C. Following his graduation a year later he became an instructor at the Ai Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field. He entered the Chemical Warfare School at Edgewood Arsenal, Md., in July 1940, and after graduating a month later returned to his former duty at Maxwell Field.
In March 1941 he was assigned to the Provisional Air Corps Maintenance Command at Patterson Field, Ohio. He assumed command of the Southeast Air Depot at Wellston, Ga., in October 1941, and in January 1943 was named to command Warner Robins Air Depot at Robins Field Ga., later redesignated Warner Robins Air Service Command.
In May 1944 he became deputy chief of staff of the 21st Bomber Command in the South Pacific and in October of that year was appointed deputy commander for operations of the Army Air Forces in the Pacific Ocean Area.
In October 1945 he was assigned to Wright Field, Ohio, and two months later became commanding general of Brookley Field, Ala.
He became chief of the Air Division of the Army Advisory Group at Nanking China, in June 1947 and in January 1949 was appointed commanding general of the 1503rd Air Transport Wing at Tokyo, Japan.
He returned to the United States in August 1949 to become inspector general of Continental Air Command at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y. In July 1950 he assumed command of the 14th Air Force at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.
General Thomas has been awarded the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and is rated a command pilot, combat observer and aircraft observer.