2011 Tillman Scholar
In Little Rock, on his 17th birthday, Thomas joined the U.S. Army as a combat engineer. In 2005, he joined the ROTC program at the University of Arkansas and after graduating as a distinguished military graduate, he branched engineer in the Army Reserves. In 2009 after graduating engineer basic leadership course, Thomas returned to the University of Arkansas to complete his master’s degree in political science; at the end of his first semester his unit received orders for mobilization to Afghanistan.
As platoon leader, Thomas led and conducted over 150 missions, including joint operations with Marines, British and Afghan forces in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. His platoon had multiple engagements with enemy forces to include IED clearances, strikes and ground force. For his efforts, Thomas was awarded a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge, among other honors in Afghanistan.
He then returned to the University of Arkansas to complete his M.A., later working as an associate research director for Media Matters for America, before returning to the Army as a project engineer with missions in the Netherlands, Germany, Korea and Central America. He also worked as an operations officer for USACE during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Recently, Thomas was granted admission into Harvard’s Kennedy School to pursue an MPA and continue his service as a military strategist.