Tom Jones Receives Frederick C. Weyand Award

  

Tom Jones Receives Frederick C. Weyand Award

from Tropic Lightning Flashes, Volume 66, Number 3  Fall 2015
 

The twelfth General Frederick C. Weyand Award was presented to Thomas A. Jones at the 66th Annual Banquet of the 25th Infantry Division Association on October 4th in Springfield Illinois.

The award is presented to individuals who exhibit extraordinary leadership in service to Veterans and Soldiers.  Tom Jones, a past-president of the Association is currently Vice President of the 25th Infantry Division Memorial Fund.  Before the Memorial Fund was incorporated, he served as Co-chairman, along with Dave Garrod, of the successful effort to erect the United By Sacrifice Memorial at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

An honor graduate of the ROTC program at Kent State University, Tom graduated from the Infantry Basic Course, Airborne School and Ranger School before his first assignment with the 14th Infantry Regiment at Schofield Barracks.  He deployed with the 1-14 Infantry Golden Dragons to Vietnam's Central Highlands in early 1966.  The 14th was part of the 3rd Brigade Task Force of the 25th Division.
 

Tom Jones with Gold Star Family sisters Virginia Frieberg and Anna Ellsworth shortly after presentation of the General Frederick C. Weyand Award.

The 3rd Brigade became known as the "Bastard Brigade" because it was a separate brigade, commanded by a Brigadier General under the direction of II Field Force.  It was separated from the rest of the 25th Division several hundred kilometers south in Cu Chi.  The brigade had been rushed to the Highlands after the famous battles of the Ia Drang Valley.  General Westmoreland wanted to increase US strength in this area.  The 25th's 3rd Brigade was prepared to deploy to Vietnam at a time when the 4th Division's own 3rd Brigade was not as far along in preparations to move.  Early on in 1966 the 25th ID's 3rd BDE Task Force worked closely with the 1st Air Cavalry Division.  Ultimately, the 4th Division's own 3rd Brigade was sent to Dau Tieng under the command of the 25th Division.

Although there was an effort to permanently swap the brigades, COL James Shanahan, a 25th Division Veteran of WWII and Korea, who, as a Colonel promotable to BG, had assumed command of the 3rd Brigade, strongly resisted the reflagging.  Shortly after his departure from Vietnam, the Army made the swap permanent and Soldiers in both brigades sewed the patch of their new division assignment on their jungle fatigues.

During Tom's tour of duty he was promoted to Captain and COL Shanahan brought him onto the brigade staff.  Returning to his young family after Vietnam, Tom resigned his commission and went to work for a trucking company.  A friend persuaded him to join the Army Reserves, from which he ultimately retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
 

25th Infantry Division Association President and Tom Jones

After several years working for different trucking companies, he raised the capital to purchase trucks, hire drivers and form his own company.  Over time he disposed of the trucks and operated as a broker moving goods around the Midwest contracting independent truck operators.  Although he has retired from the business, he passed it along to one of his daughters who operates the company today.

Tom became a member of the 25th Infantry Division Association in the late 80s, renewing old friendships and forging new ones.  Together with Dave Garrod, he chaired the effort to erect a memorial to four generations of Tropic Lightning warriors in the early years of the Global War on Terrorism.  The successful effort raised over $420,000 and culminated in the installation of the Memorial in 2005 and 2006.  He served as Association Finance Chairman for several years, then 2nd and 1st Vice Presidents before he was sworn in as President of the Association in 2012.

Never having lost his enthusiasm for the 3rd Brigade he served with in Vietnam, proud of their record of accomplishments and feeling that they had been somewhat lost to history, he set about collecting records, photographs, and personal accounts of Veterans of service with the 3rd Brigade.  After years of hard work, he is nearly finished writing a history of the "Bastard Brigade".

In addition to his contributions to the Association and to Memorial projects, he co-founded the 14th Infantry Regiment "Golden Dragons" Chapter of the 25th Infantry Division Association along with fellow 14th Regiment Veteran and former Association President, Larry Weist.

The Award of the 2015 General Frederick C. Weyand was announced by President Gary Huber at the Annual Banquet.  As Gary read the citation, Executive Director and fellow Weyand Award recipient (2006) Butch Sincock placed the bronze medal around Tom's neck.

 

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