TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A local East Texan World War II veteran who is celebrating his centennial birthday on July 13th needs our help.

Archie Thomas will be turning 100-years-old soon. He is a World War II veteran after serving as an Army Sgt. said Texas Veterans Land Board Chairman George P. Bush.

“I would truly enjoy receiving 100 birthday cards for my 100th birthday,” said Thomas.

He currently lives at the Watkins-Logan Texas State Veterans Home in Tyler. The veteran was born in Hearne, Texas and served in the Army Air Corps from Sept. 1942 until July 1945.

When Thomas was 22-years-old, his aircraft was shot down in Germany in April of 1944. Thomas survived the crash, but nine other service members on his crew did not.

“The airplane crashed in the woods out in Germany and burned. The crew was dead and I knew it, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it,” said Thomas.

He was also a prisoner of war for thirteen months in Austria.

Thomas was later honored with the Prisoner of War Medal and Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is usually awarded by the President of the United States to Armed Forces members who were wounded or killed by enemy action, according to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

The story of Thomas’ bravery has been featured in a book called, “Those Brave Crews” written by Ray Ward.

“You just sit down there and that for me is the best part of this job is just listening to their story and if it’s over and over again that’s fine. They want to tell it, and I want to listen to it! That’s my main job. There’s all this administrator stuff we have to do, but out there is where it’s at… it’s with the veterans,” said Troy Turner, a representative for Veteran’s Land Board.

If people would like to send birthday cards to Thomas they can send them to the Watkins-Logan Home.

The cards can be addressed to:

Archie Thomas
11466 Honor Lane
Tyler, Texas 75708