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Thomas Andrews Wornham
Thomas A. Wornham.jpg
Wornham as Lieutenant General, USMC
Born (1903-12-12)December 12, 1903
Died December 17, 1984(1984-12-17) (aged 81)
Place of birth Rensselaer, New York
Place of death San Diego, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch USMC logo United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1926–1961
Rank US-O9 insignia Lieutenant General
Service number 0-4079
Commands held Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
MCRD San Diego
3rd Marine Division
27th Marine Regiment
1st Marine Regiment
Battles/wars

Yangtze Patrol
World War II

Korean War

Awards Navy Cross
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Navy Commendation Medal

Thomas Andrews Wornham (December 12, 1903 – December 17, 1984) was a highly decorated officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of Lieutenant General. He is most noted for his service as Commanding Officer of the 27th Marine Regiment during the Battle of Iwo Jima or as Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Regiment during the Korean War.

Early careerEdit

Thomas A. Wornham was born on December 12, 1903 in Rensselaer, New York. After the graduation from the high school, he attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and graduated with the rank of Second lieutenant in the Marine Corps on June 3, 1926. Wornham was subsequently transferred to the Marine Barracks within Philadelphia Navy Yard and attended the Field Officer's Course at local Basic school.[1]

He was ordered for his first expeditionary duty in April 1927, when he was assigned to the Marine Barracks Shangai, China. After his return to the United States, Wornham was assigned to the Marine Detachment within summer camp of President Calvin Coolidge in Criglersville, Virginia in November 1929. After five months of service there, he was assigned to the 1st Brigade of Marines and sailed for Haiti in March 1930. While served there, he was promoted to the rank of First lieutenant in March 1932.

Wornham returned to the United States in June 1933 and later attended Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon the graduation in June 1936, he was appointed Instructor at Marine Corps School in Quantico, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to the rank of Captain in August 1936. Wornham served in this capacity until September 1939.

World War IIEdit

Captain Wornham was subsequently assigned to the Marine Detachment aboard the light cruiser USS Helena and participated in the patrol voyage in the Caribbean. He was promoted to the rank of Major in May 1941 and transferred to the Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C., where he served in the Personnel Division under Brigadier general Littleton W. T. Waller Jr. command. During his time at Headquarters Marine Corps, Wornham was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in August 1942 and later decorated with Navy Commendation Medal for his distinguished service there.[1]

He served in this capacity until January 1944, when he was transferred to the Camp Pendleton, California to assume command of newly activated 27th Marine Regiment. Wornham supervised the formation and further training of the regiment and after promotion to Colonel in June 1944, he sailed with 27th Marines for Hawaii. His unit was subsequently assigned to the 5th Marine Division under Major general Keller E. Rockey and became preparing for Iwo Jima operation.

On 19 February 1945, Colonel Wornham landed with the first waves of his regiment on Iwo Jima. He personally participated in the reconnaissance of the terrain under heavy mortar and small-arms fire and when one of his battalion was halted by enemy's fire, Wornham rallied his men to renew the attack and inflicted heavy losses on the Japanese. For his gallantry in action, he was decorated with Navy Cross.[2]

Later careerEdit

Following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, Wornham commanded his regiment during the occupation duties in Japan until he was ordered back to the United States in December 1945. For his service in Japan, Wornham received Bronze Star Medal. He was subsequently assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Personnel in Washington, D.C. as Marine Corps Liaison Officer.[1]

William W. McMillan and Thomas A. Wornham, National Rifle and Pistol Matches 1957

Thomas A. Wornham (MCRD San Diego) decorating William W. McMillan with Elgin Wrist Watches for National Rifle and Pistol Matches 1957.

Wornham served in this capacity only until September 1947, when he was assigned to the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia as Deputy Chief of Staff and Officer in Charge of Troop Training Unit, Amphibious Training Command, Atlantic Fleet. He was subsequently appointed Chief of Staff of that unit in January 1948. Wornham served in that capacity until July 1949, when he was assigned to the senior course at Naval War College. He graduated in June 1950 and was appointed Director of the Senior School within Marine Corps School at Quantico base.

During the Korean War, Wornham was transferred to the 1st Marine Regiment, where he relieved Colonel Wilburt S. Brown in July 1951. The regiment participated in the combats at East central and western fronts and Colonel Wornham distinguished himself during the Inje. He was subsequently decorated with the Legion of Merit with Combat "V".[2] He remained in command of the regiment until the beginning of October 1951, when he was succeeded by Colonel Sidney S. Wade. He was subsequently appointed Chief of Staff, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.

Colonel Wornham has returned to Washington, D.C. in February 1952 and was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Training. While served in this capacity, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in July 1952. Wornham has been promoted to the rank of Major General in May 1955 and subsequently relieved Major general James P. Riseley as Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division stationed at Camp Courtney, Okinawa in July 1955. Wornham commanded 3rd Division during the defense duties of the Far Eastern area until the end of July 1956, when he was relieved by Major general Victor H. Krulak.

Major general Wornham almost immediately returned to the United States and has been appointed Commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. His new task was to train new recruits, which were subsequently assigned to other Marine units.[3]

His final assignment came in October 1959, when he was appointed Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, the largest maritime landing force in the world. Wornham was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General the next month. For his distinguished service in this capacity, he was decorated with the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Wornham was relived by Lieutenant general Alan Shapley on March 31, 1961 and subsequently retired from the Marine Corps on the following day.

Life in retirementEdit

Wornham retired with his wife to San Diego and was appointed to the San Diego Harbor Commission in early 1962. His task was to control and disposition of 1,800 acres of tidelands. He was appointed General manager of the Tri-Hospital Building Fund, the multimillion dollar drive to provide funds for the expansion of Mercy, Sharp and Scripps hospitals.[4]

Lieutenant General Thomas A. Wornham died on and his ashes were scattered at sea on his own request. He was survived by his wife Laura Wornham and his son Thomas V. A. Wornham.[4]

DecorationsEdit

Here is the ribbon bar of Lieutenant General Thomas A. Wornham:[2]

Navy Cross ribbon.svg
Navy Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Transparent square.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze star
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg
Bronze star
Marine Corps Expeditionary ribbon.svg
Yangtze Service Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze star
American Defense Service ribbon.svg
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Army of Occupation ribbon.svg
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze star
Bronze star
Korean Service Medal ribbon.svg
United Nations Service Medal Korea ribbon.svg Presidential Unit Citation (Korea).svg
1st row Navy Cross
2nd row Navy Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit with Combat "V" Bronze Star Medal Navy Commendation Medal
3rd row Navy Presidential Unit Citation with one star Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with one star Yangtze Service Medal American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp
4th row American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one 3/16 inch service star World War II Victory Medal Navy Occupation Service Medal
5th row National Defense Service Medal with service star Korean Service Medal with two 3/16 inch service stars United Nations Korea Medal Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Military offices
Preceded by
John C. McQueen
Commanding General of the MCRD San Diego
26 July 1956 – 26 October 1959
Succeeded by
Bruno Hochmuth
Preceded by
James P. Riseley
Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division
1 July 1955 – 26 July 1956
Succeeded by
Victor H. Krulak
Preceded by
Wilburt S. Brown
Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Regiment
18 July 1951 – 11 October 1951
Succeeded by
Sidney S. Wade

ReferencesEdit

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Marines Together We Served". marines.togetherweserved.com. Marines Together We Served Websites. https://marines.togetherweserved.com/usmc/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=192146. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Valor awards for Thomas A. Wornham". valor.militarytimes.com. Militarytimes Websites. http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=8273. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  3. "New York Times". nytimes.com. New York Times Websites. http://www.nytimes.com/1984/12/23/obituaries/no-headline-178231.html. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Find a Grave Memorial". findagrave.com. Find a Grave Memorial Websites. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Wornham&GSfn=Thomas&GSmn=A&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=127496772&df=all&. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 

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