THOMAS, Wilbur J.  
Name:  Thomas, Wilbur J.
Date of birth: Unknown
Nationality:  American
Rank: 1st Lieutenant (Lieutenant)
Unit: Fighter Pilot Marine Fighting Squadron 213 (VMF-213), Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, U.S. Marine Corps
Action: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Wilbur J. Thomas (0-13630), First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as a Fighter Pilot attached to Marine Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED THIRTEEN (VMF-213), Marine Air Group ELEVEN (MAG-11), FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, in aerial combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area from 5 September 1943 to 14 October 1943. When he was attacked by a numerically superior force of Japanese fighters during escort duty for our heavy bombers on a strike against Kahili Airfield, on Bougainville Island, First Lieutenant Thomas expertly maneuvered and fought his plane in a fierce counterattack, shooting down in flames three of the hostile planes. On 25 September in a similar action, he again personally destroyed three enemy aircraft and contributed to the destruction of another. Consistently displaying exception courage and skill throughout subsequent vital missions, he succeeded in bringing down an additional three hostile Zeros and probably two others, and aided in the sinking or destruction of thirteen enemy barges. First Lieutenant Thomas' superb airmanship and heroic devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Details: SPOT AWARD, Serial 02538 (SofN Signed August 25, 1944).
Rank: 1st Lieutenant (Lieutenant)
Unit: Fighter Pilot Marine Fighting Squadron 213 (VMF-213), U.S. Marine Corps
Action: For action on 30 June 1943 at a CAP mission over amphibious landings at Wickham Anchorage on the southern tip of New Georgia.
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Information source(s):   - Recipients of The Navy Cross, 1916 - Present, by C. Douglas Sterner
- U.S. National Park
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