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Gerald W. Thomas

portrait of Gerald Thomas
Gerald W. Thomas

Dr. Gerald W. Thomas was one of the pilots of Torpedo Squadron Four. Forty-one months of active duty with the Navy during World War II earned him three DFCs, two Air Medals, and two Presidential Citations, as well as combat ribbons in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Theaters of War. Flying from three aircraft carriers, Lt (jg) Thomas survived several plane crashes and one splash-down in the South China Sea.

After World War II, Thomas was employed by the U.S. Conservation Service in Idaho. He returned to graduate school at Texas A&M in 1950 under the GI Bill. He held teaching and research positions at Texas A&M, was Dean of Agriculture at Texas Tech, and was President of New Mexico State University.

About the Collection

The Gerald W. Thomas papers are comprised of records from his service on a U.S. Agency for International Development board. The materials span the years 1972-1980, with the bulk of the dating between 1976-1979. Included are agendas; summaries of minutes and transcripts of proceedings of Board meetings; charters; legislation; budgets; correspondence, directories, legislation, program guidelines, contracts, policy papers, publicity, photographs; progress and annual reports; symposia, seminar, and conference papers, and proceedings; and printed and published materials related to policy, organization, research and activities of USAID programs.


Gerald Thomas in an airplane's cockpit

Gerald W. Thomas was raised in Small, Idaho, and attended the University of Idaho as an undergraduate. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy as one of the pilots of Torpedo Squadron Four. After the war, he was employed by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho.

In 1950, Thomas attended graduate school at Texas A & M University where he later held teaching and research positions. Thomas served as the Dean of Agriculture at Texas Tech University for twelve years. In 1970, he came to New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, where he served as president until his retirement in 1984. In 1976, Thomas was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, U.S. Agency for International Development. Thomas served in this capacity until 1979.

Thomas has authored many books and professional publications and organized the NMSU Pioneers.

Additional resources:

Air Group 4 "Casablanca to Tokyo" - Information about Torpedo Squadron Four