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William L. Thomas , Jr.


Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Operation Allied Force

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Captain William L. Thomas, Jr., United States Air Force, was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Pilot of an F-16 Fighter Plane in action near Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on 7 June 1999. On that date, Captain Thomas was flying with a group of F-16s near Batanjnica Airfield, near Belgrade, when he located four Serbian MiG-29s parked below. He and his wingman each destroyed one of the jets on a first pass over the airfield. On a second pass he destroyed a third MiG, but Serbian forces managed to fire two SA-3s, which forced Captain Thomas' wingman into evasive maneuvers, temporarily blinding him and sending him into a low-altitude dive in the midst of anti-aircraft artillery fire. Captain Thomas, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, flew into the AAA zone and dispensed flares to draw fire upon himself and away from his wingman. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Thomas has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: June 7, 1999

Service: Air Force

Rank: Captain