Thomas Ray, affectionately known as Tommy, was born in Springfield, Ohio on February 1, 1944, to William R. and Anna (Fay) Thornton. Tommy has a sister, Joann Nuss, who grew up with Tommy when they lived on North Race Street.
After completing grade school, he attended North High School. Tommy was a member of the track team and distinguished himself during the period 1960 through 1962 when he was awarded trophies for his accomplishments.
His coach, James Rolfes, had a special fondness for this young man. Whenever asked about Tommy, Mr. Rolfes had only good things to say and ranked him highest amongst those who preceded him.
Tommy graduated from North High School in 1962 and continued his education at Ohio State University. He left the university and on July 27, 1965 he joined the navy with hopes of returning to school when his military obligation was completed.
CT3 Thornton was killed during the attack on the USS LIBERTY (AGTR-5) on June 8, 1967. Tommy is buried at Ferncliff cemetery in Springfield, Ohio.
1 February 2019 at 15:08
Tommy was a terrific folk style guitar player and he took the time to teach me how to finger pick. We put together a little group & played at cookouts & once at the Ambassador’s house in Abidjan with Captain McGonagle.
1 February 2019 at 20:10
The attack on the USS Liberty shocked the Security Group beyond description. Those who lost their lives by what would later be defined as friendly fire we were left with a permanent sadness. We would cross paths with our Liberty shipmates as time passed at duty stations around the world. The U.S. Naval Security Group would remain small in numbers until Homeland Security absorbed us into NetWarCom. This day in 1967 lingers in our memories.
William A. Wilke CTR3