THOMAS, LEWIS McCOY
THOMAS, LEWIS McCOY
25th INFANTRY DIVISION
Date of Birth:
Awards & Decorations:
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LEWIS McCOY THOMAS, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, U.S. ARMY, HOWARD COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal with 1 Knot (2 awards), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Lewis McCoy Thomas was born in Big Spring, the only child born to Georgia Katherine Phillips and George Truiett Thomas. He was known as Coy by his friends and family. His father and mother worked at the Cowper Clinic and Hospital in Big Spring. His father was the administrator. He attended Big Spring schools and graduated from Big Spring High School in 1957. After high school, he attended Howard College and worked in maintenance at the Cowper Clinic/Hospital.
He enlisted in the Army in 1959 and completed his basic training at Fort Bliss. He also attended Military Police Training at Fort McClellan and served two years in Germany and two years in Washington D.C. as a military policeman. He was in his third re-enlistment when he became an infantryman and joined the 5th Mechanized Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in 1965..
The 5th Mechanized Infantry mobilized to Vietnam on January 4, 1966 and Coy was assigned as an infantryman with Company A, 1st Battalion. The 5th Mechanized Infantry was known as a the Bobcats and was a part of the 2nd Brigade assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. It was among the few mechanized infantry regiments operating in Vietnam. The regiment arrived in Vietnam in February and became responsble for the defense of Saigon and military regions north and west of Saigon, primarily operating out of Cu Chi. It was known in Vietnam as Hell's Half Acre.
On April 14, 1966, Company A was operating in a search and destroy mission in an area between the Filhol and Ho Bo Woods. During the operation only light contact had been made. As the company was clearing a small hamlet, they discovered a rice cache. In the process of examinating the finding, a booby trap exploded killing PFC Lewis McCoy Thomas and seriously wounded two other soldiers.
PFC Coy Thomas was returned to Big Spring and was buried with full military honors at the Trinity Memorial Garden's Cemetery. On August 14, 1966, the family of PFC Lewis McCoy Thomas was posthumously presented the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, along with the Combat Infantryman's Badge and his other awards and decorations. Coy's mother was very active as a Gold Star Mother and she was among the founders of the Big Spring Vietnam Memorial, where she served until her death. Coy now rests next to both of his parents.
Trinity Memorial Garden's Cemetery-Big Spring, Texas