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Lucien's Life
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Lucien Thomas, Our World Class Gunner

If such records were kept, Lucien Thomas would qualify as America's most decorated enlisted man.

Pilots, particularly fighter pilots, get the press - and the glory - and the girls. Who cares! Lucien Thomas was quoted in a 1952 STARS & STRIPES article that he would rather fly combat than date Marilyn Monroe.

And he would!

Lucien Thomas
Lucien started his combat career before America entered the war in Europe in early 1941 by enlisting in the RCAF. He was one of 72 men selected for a course as combat gunners. Those were tough days with high losses and of the 72 candidates selected only three were still flying combat by December 1942. He flew on the first Thousand Bomber Raid as rear gunner for the famous Squadron Leader Leonard Cheshire.

At the end of 1942 he transferred to the American Army Air Corps but was 'loaned' back to the RAF to fly with an elite Special Operations Squadron in the 'cloak and dagger' war. He was summoned to Buckingham Palace and was awarded a DFM by the king, one of only three Americans so honored during the war.

He transferred back to the US Air Corps and was assigned to a B-26 Marauder Squadron. Lucien flew the equivalent of three combat tours and returned to the states in 1944. At the end of W.W.II Lucien left the service briefly but returned and was assigned to Guam as a gunner on a select SAC crew on a B-29s.

Lucien Thomas
When the Korean War started Lucien badgered his way to Miho AB in Japan and got himself assigned to the 452nd Bomb Group flying Douglas B-26s. After completing his tour he attempted to get himself assigned to the 3rd Bomb Group for another combat tour, but was assigned instead to a B-29 Group on Okinawa, still flying combat over Korea but in a different kind of plane.
Using connections in USAF headquarters in Tokyo he managed a transfer to the 3rd Bomb Group and was assigned to the 13th Bomb Squadron, where he was further assigned as Squadron Gunnery Chief. Lucien served as the "designated gunner" for the top Tiger pilots, always flying the toughest missions and the Special Operations Missions. While with the 13th, Lucien flew two back to back combat tours.

Lucien remained in the Air Force after Korea and during the Cold War did what he describes as interesting and challenging assignments. During the Vietnam War he served as Assistant to the Director of Munitions and managed to fly several missions in Vietnam and Laos to evaluate munitions effectiveness.
Lucien has "rolled the dice" on almost 400 missions, and has received 75 awards and decorations from eight countries. Lucien Thomas

Lucien Thomas is the author of two self-published books, "Pintail Three" and "R for Robert." For more info on these books and details on how to order them, click here.

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