A native of Portsmouth, Va., Rear Adm. (Select) Thomas was commissioned an ensign upon earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at the United States Naval Academy. He later went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, the Naval Engineer’s Degree and a Ph.D. in Hydrodynamics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Thomas served aboard USS San Juan (SSN 751), where he qualified in submarines and supported the delivery of the first improved Los Angeles-class submarine. He later served as repair officer aboard USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and as the first Virginia-class program manager’s representative at Northrop Grumman Newport News, while also serving as submarine project officer for Supervisor of Shipbuilding Newport News.
Ashore, Thomas served at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) as the design manager for the LSV-2 Cutthroat; as maintenance officer at Commander, Submarine Force, where he coordinated acceptance of the lead ships of two submarine classes, (USS Virginia (SSN 774) and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23)), and as co-chair Submarine Team One; and, later served as operations officer at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Thomas served as commander of the historic Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard from June 2007 to September 2010; during his tour the shipyard was awarded the Robert T. Mason Award for being the top Department of Defense depot maintenance activity in 2010, the first NAVSEA activity to win this award.
His personal awards include the NAVSEA Association of Scientists and Engineers Professional Achievement Award, Legion of Merit (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (4 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.