About Charles L Thomas, 1LT
In the late 1980s, due that fact that no Medals of Honor were awarded to Black American soldiers in either of the World Wars, a review of Distinguished Service Cross awards was initiated to see if some of these brave soldiers might have been denied the Medal of Honor due to prejudice. In 1991 the DSC awarded to Freddie Stowers in WWI was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Subsequently, on January 13, 1997, the DSC awards to seven Black veterans of World War II were also upgraded, including the award to Charles Thomas. Though he survived the war, he died in 1980, and the award was presented posthumously by President Bill Clinton.
Medal of Honor
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Charles L. Thomas, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action on 14 December 1944, while serving with Company C, 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 103d Infantry Division, in action near Climbach, France. While riding in the lead vehicle of a task force organized to storm and capture the village of Climbach, France, then First Lieutenant Thomas' armored scout car was subjected to intense enemy artillery, self-propelled gun, and small arms fire. Although wounded by the initial burst of hostile fire, Lieutenant Thomas signaled the remainder of the column to halt and, despite the severity of his wounds, assisted the crew of the wrecked car in dismounting. Upon leaving the scant protection which the vehicle afforded, Lieutenant Thomas was again subjected to a hail of enemy fire which inflicted multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, legs, and left arm. Despite the intense pain caused by these wounds, Lieutenant Thomas ordered and directed the dispersion and emplacement of two antitank guns which in a few moments were promptly and effectively returning the enemy fire. Realizing that he could no longer remain in command of the platoon, he signaled to the platoon commander to join him. Lieutenant Thomas then thoroughly oriented him on enemy gun dispositions and the general situation. Only after he was certain that his junior officer was in full control of the situation did he permit himself to be evacuated. First Lieutenant Thomas' outstanding heroism were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.
Action Date: December 14, 1944
Rank: First Lieutenant
Company: Company C
Battalion: 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion
Division: 103d Infantry Division