Leland Evan Thomas

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Leland Evan Thomas
Born (1918-09-20)September 20, 1918
Ontario, Oregon
Died September 18, 1942(1942-09-18) (aged 23)
Solomon Islands
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps Reserve
Years of service 1941–1942
Rank Second Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II
*Guadalcanal campaign
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross (posthumous)

Leland Evan Thomas (September 20, 1918 – September 18, 1942) was a decorated United States Marine Corps Reserve pilot of World War II.

Early life[edit]

Thomas was born on 20 September 1918 in Ontario, Oregon.

Marine Corps career[edit]

Thomas enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on 10 September 1941 and was appointed air cadet on 15 October 1941. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 17 April 1942.

While serving in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II, Thomas contributed to the sinking of an Imperial Japanese Navy cruiser and destroyer. He was killed in action at Guadalcanal during the Guadalcanal campaign on 18 September 1942 while launching an aggressive attack on Japanese warships.

Honors and awards[edit]

Distinguished Flying Cross[edit]

Thomas posthumously received the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation read in part:

“...for heroism and extraordinary achievement as a pilot....His indomitable fighting spirit was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.”


The United States Navy destroyer escort USS Leland E. Thomas (DE-420) was named in Thomas '​s honor. She was commissioned on 19 June 1944 and served until May 1946.

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.