Where Marines, their families, and friends come together

To request registration to please forward you requested user name, email address, date of birth, and the zip code where you live to the webmaster.

Go Back > The Final Duty Station
FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

The Final Duty Station This forum is presented by Retired GySgt Bill Conroy. It is a listing of those that have received orders for their final duty station. These Marines have given their all. We now give our honor.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 01-23-2020, 00:12 AM
GyBill's Avatar
GyBill GyBill is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Missouri City, TX
Posts: 38,453
LtCol. Ray O. Thomas USMC (ret), Pensacola, FL

Raymond O'Brien Thomas was born on August 31, 1946 and passed away on January 19, 2020.

Funeral Service 10 Feb
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
6495 Lillian Highway
Pensacola, FL

Inurnment 10 Feb
2:30 pm
1 Cemetery Rd
Pensacola, Florida 32508

Ordnance Marine Brings 36-Year Career to a Close

July 10th, 2001...
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --When a Marine retires after 20 years of active duty, he or she is considered a "Career Marine." Lt. Col. Ray O. Thomas redefines that term.

Thomas will walk away from the Corps July 13, but not before serving his country through eight U.S. presidents and 10 Marine Corps Commandants - a feat of service longevity which took the former enlisted Marine and warrant officer 36 years to achieve.

Thomas enlisted as a private in 1965, and immediately transferred to Vietnam to serve in combat with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. After his tour, he was shipped back to the United States, where he was discharged as a sergeant in 1968. Although he stayed Marine as a reservist, Thomas said he had no intentions of rejoining the active ranks. However, as his three years of reserve duty progressed, the Lewes, Del., native realized he had a void that needed to be filled.

"There was a challenge missing from civilian life," explained Thomas, who is currently serving as II Marine Expeditionary Force's ordnance officer.

He rejoined the Marine Corps for a second tour in Vietnam, this time with 3rd Tank Battalion. After this tour, Thomas returned to the states to teach at Marine Corps Base Schools, Camp Pendleton.

Thomas kept with the teaching theme when he became a drill instructor in 1974, a tour in which saw Thomas promoted to staff sergeant. He then became a D.I. Instructor, and was meritoriously promoted to gunnery sergeant, after just a year at his previous rank.

Upon completion of this duty and after serving as an instructor at Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., Thomas made his first big career shift when he was selected to become a warrant officer in 1979.

"I always respected warrant officers," said Thomas. "They hold themselves with a certain swagger. They are very professional."

After completing the Warrant Officer Basic Course, Thomas graduated from the Ordnance Officers' course in 1980, and subsequently began his first of many tours with tracked vehicle units, beginning with 3rd Tank Bn., the same unit he fought with in Vietnam.

Just three years after obtaining the rank of warrant officer, Thomas was headed for another change - this time being selected for the limited duty officer program. In 1983, nearly twenty years after first donning the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, Thomas began a climb through a third set of ranks, beginning at first lieutenant.

Thomas returned to Camp Lejeune in 1984, serving with Brigade Service Support Group-6 as the maintenance management officer. He would also serve with 2nd Maintenance Bn. and 2nd Tank Bn. before heading to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he helped field the M1A1 tanks and other new weapons systems for employment for Operation Desert Storm.

Thomas is now the senior ordnance officer in the Marine Corps, but he remains humble about his Marine Corps career.

"It still seems like yesterday I was at Parris Island," reminisced Thomas. "It's hard to believe that two-thirds of my life has been as a Marine."

The 54- year-old said he has had several job offers from civilian ordnance companies, but is still unsure as to what direction his civilian life will take him. For the time being, he is happy here.

"Camp Lejeune is my home. I love it here,' he said.

His retirement is an emotional issue for Thomas, who said the hardest part about leaving after 36 years is simply walking away from what he knows best - being a Marine.

"I know in my head what I want to say (at the retirement ceremony)," he said. "I just have to get through it. It's going to be hard."

Thomas has earned the Purple Heart, three Meritorious Service Medals, Two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Combat Action Ribbon and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal during a career he describes as, simply, "fun."

GyBill U.S.M.C.
Webmaster, Obituary NCOIC
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
LtCol Walter Melvin "Bud" Gibbs USMC (ret), 71, Jacksonville, FL GyBill The Final Duty Station 0 06-09-2015 09:57 AM
LtCol Francis F. "Frank" Rotter USMC (ret), 95, Merritt Island, FL GyBill The Final Duty Station 0 06-26-2014 11:19 AM
LtCol Drew I. Matthews USMC (ret), 79, Lecanto, FL GyBill The Final Duty Station 0 11-09-2008 22:02 PM
LtCol Drew I. Matthews USMC (ret), 79, Beverly Hills, FL GyBill The Final Duty Station 0 10-04-2008 14:44 PM
LtCol Eugene B. Burleson Jr. USMC (ret), 76, Citra, FL GyBill The Final Duty Station 0 03-23-2008 17:58 PM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:38 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
This forum is private. It is not a official Marine Corps web page. It is for the use of invited guests. We invite you to join us and hope that you enjoy your visits. copyright 2003-2020 All Rights Reserved. Content published on requires permission for reprint.