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General Raymond Anthony Thomas III,[1] also known as Tony Thomas,[2] (born October 6, 1958) is a senior officer in the United States Army and former commander of United States Special Operations Command.

Raymond A. Thomas III
General Raymond A. Thomas III (USSOCOM).jpg
General Raymond A. Thomas
Commander, United States Special Operations Command
Born (1958-10-06) October 6, 1958 (age 60)
Pennsylvania, United States
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1980–2019
RankArmy-USA-OF-09.svg General
Commands heldUnited States Special Operations Command
Joint Special Operations Command
Battles/warsOperation Urgent Fury
Operation Just Cause
Gulf War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal (5)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal (5)
Purple Heart

He has participated in numerous combat operations, such as Operation Urgent Fury 1983, Operation Just Cause in 1989, Gulf War in 1991, and since 2001 the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every year between 2001 and 2013 (minus his time in Iraq with the 1st Armored Division in 2007) Thomas deployed to Afghanistan as part of various special operations units.

Military careerEdit

Thomas was born in Pennsylvania in 1958 and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1980.[1][3] Thomas was a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment.[4] He led a Ranger Rifle platoon during the Invasion of Grenada in 1983, that was dropped from an MC-130 onto a landing strip in Grenada. He completed Infantry Officer Advanced Course in early 1986 and was assigned as Assistant S-3, Plans/Liaison Officer with 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia until summer 1987. Thomas was then assigned as a company commander with 3rd Ranger Battalion. In 1989, during the Invasion of Panama, he led his Ranger Rifle Company in another combat jump.[5] In 1992, Thomas volunteered for and completed a specialized selection course for assignment to 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, also known as Delta Force. He served as Operations Officer, Troop Commander, Executive Officer and Squadron Commander from 1992 to 1994 and 1996 to 1999. In June 1995 Thomas earned a Master`s Degree from the Naval Command and Staff College, Newport, R.I. From 2000 to 2002, Thomas served as commanding officer of Army's 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Thomas crossed over from the special operations realm into the conventional warfare realm when he was selected by Lieutenant General Mark P. Hertling, then-commander of the 1st Armored Division, to be his deputy commander during the Iraq War, from 2007 to 2008. During that tour the division worked alongside Arabs and Kurds and despite the difficult relationship between the ethnic groups Thomas was praised by Hertling for "his ability to quickly fuse intelligence" adding, "He helped us fight better." After his tenure in the 1st Armored Division came to an end Thomas returned to special operations.[6] From 2010 until 2012 Thomas served as the deputy commander of Joint Special Operations Command.[3] As a major general, Thomas was in charge of all U.S. and NATO special forces in Afghanistan from 2012 until 2013.[3][7] Every year between 2001 and 2013 (minus his time in Iraq with the 1st Armored Division in 2007) Thomas deployed to Afghanistan as part of various special operations units.[4]

After commanding all US and NATO SOF units in Afghanistan Thomas was promoted to lieutenant general and was reassigned the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia where he served as the Associate Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for Military Affairs.[3] In August 2014, Thomas replaced Joseph Votel as the commander of Joint Special Operations Command. Votel was promoted to four-star general and replaced Admiral William H. McRaven as the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.[4] In a ceremony at MacDill AFB, Florida March 30, 2016 General Thomas took command of USSOCOM and received his fourth star.[8]


  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ Shear, Michael D. (February 14, 2017). "Unbelievable Turmoil': Trump's First Month Leaves Washington Reeling". The New York Times. Retrieved February 15, 2017. Gen. Tony Thomas, former head of the military’s Special Operations Command, expressed concern about upheaval inside the White House.
  3. ^ a b c d "New Senior Appointment at CIA – Matthew Aid". Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "New Commander Takes Over JSOC at Fort Bragg |". Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  5. ^ Gal Perl Finkel, US NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER FACES CHALLENGES AT HOME AND ABROAD, The Jerusalem Post, February 22, 2017.
  6. ^ "The New York Times". Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  7. ^ " News Release: General Officer Assignments". Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-19. Retrieved 2016-04-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Raymond A. Thomas III at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Joseph Votel
Commander, Joint Special Operations Command
July 29, 2014 – March 30, 2016
Succeeded by
Austin S. Miller
Preceded by
Joseph Votel
Commander, United States Special Operations Command
March 30, 2016 – March 29, 2019
Succeeded by
Richard D. Clarke