David M. Thomas
|Service/||United States Navy|
Carrier Strike Group Two
Naval Surface Forces Atlantic
Thomas's father was a career Navy officer. Thomas, and three of his brothers, are graduates of the United States Naval Academy. All are retired, including one who was in the Marine Corps. Another brother served in the Peace Corps. His two uncles also were Navy officers via Officers' Candidate School programs. Thomas graduated in 1981.
Thomas was a 1976 graduate of Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland.
9-11 rescue efforts
Captain David Thomas was serving in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, when al Qaeda hijackers crashed a passenger jet into it, causing an explosion, fire, and consequent injuries and loss of life. Thomas was one of the people who spontaneously volunteered to enter the damaged part of the building to rescue survivors.
When asked about his rescue efforts on September 11, Thomas replied:
I am who I am, a trained sailor who sails ships at sea. You run toward your shipmate in times of trouble.
8th Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo
On April 2, 2009, Thomas defended inviting visiting VIP entertainers to view detainees at Guantanamo.Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza and Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart had both been invited to visit Guantanamo on a USO tour, where they signed autographs. Both women stirred controversy after they published accounts of their visits. Thomas had authorized the women to view captives.Carol Rosenberg, reporting in the Miami Herald, wrote that Thomas "brushed aside" concerns that by allowing civilians to view the captives he was violating the clause in the Geneva Conventions that protect captives from the humiliation of public display.
Thomas asserted that the beauty queens had been allowed to view the detainees in Guantanamo just as if they were reporters.
On July 10, 2009, he began his assignment as commander, Carrier Strike Group 2, serving in that capacity until July, 2010. In July 2010, he was named Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic (COMNAVSURFLANT), the senior Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) in the Atlantic Fleet, a position he held until September 4, 2013.
After he left the Navy Thomas was hired as an executive at BAE, a firm which builds and maintains large vessels, including US Navy vessels. In 2018 he was put in charge of BAE's San Diego facilty.
- Carol Rosenberg (May 28, 2008). "'9/11 hero' takes over prison camp". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on May 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "About Navy Rear Adm. David M. Thomas". Miami Herald. May 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Carol Rosenberg (2009-04-02). "Prison camps commander defends celebrity visits". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- Robert Mackey (2009-03-30). "Miss Universe Visits Guantánamo Bay". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- Robert Mackey (2009-04-01). "Miss Universe's Blog Post on Guantánamo Vanishes". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- Hugo Rifkind (2009-04-03). "Life is lovely when you're wearing a tiara". London: The Times. Archived from the original on 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- Al Kamen (2009-04-02). "'GWOT.' What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing!". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- Ian O'Doherty (2009-04-02). "Bloody Wimmin, ruining history". The Independent (Ireland). Archived from the original on 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
"Naval Surface Force Atlantic holds change of command". Military News. Norfolk, Virginia. 2013-09-04. Archived from the original on 2020-01-18. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
Rear Adm. Pete A. Gumataotao relieved Rear. Adm. David M. Thomas, Jr. as Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) during a ceremony at the Naval Support Activity Norfolk chapel, Aug. 29.
Brad Graves (2018-09-09). "New Leader, Bigger Dry Dock Working at Shipyard". San Diego Business Journal. San Diego, California. Archived from the original on 2018-09-10. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
Eight months into his new assignment, Thomas said he isn’t planning any changes in San Diego. However, there is evidence the yard will be dealing with a greater volume of work than it did under Thomas’ predecessor.