Tom was born on April 12, 1925 Huntington, IN and grew up in Wheaton, IL.
He enlisted in the Army on July 15, 1943 at Ft. Sheridan. He completed basic training at Camp Fannin, TX. Together with two friends, Tom requested a transfer for pilot training and eventually volunteered to be a radio operator (FM SCR 300s) for C Co., 99th Infantry Division.
Tom arrived in Liverpool, England on the SS Athos II in early October, 1944 and then transferred to Blandford. Three weeks later, Tom left Bournemouth in a LST and arrived at Le Havre, France.
After being trucked to the Siegfried Line near Krinkelt, Tom heard the screeching sound of
60mm mortar shells and spent the next five weeks in the dreaded Hürtgen Forest. On December 16, 1944, Tom was awoken by a tremendous artillery barrage at 5:30am, which was the start of the largest military engagement in US history– the Battle of the Bulge. Tom lived through relentless artillery barrages from both the enemy and US 105s and helped evacuate one of his buddies (Red Netter) who had been hit. The 99th Inf. Div. was the first entire division to cross the Rhine on the infamous bridge at Remagen.
Tom was discharged on February 2, 1945 at Ft. Lewis, one of only 11 men who survived of the 200 men in his unit.