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Thomas L. Swift
Branch: Navy
Rank: LCDR
War or Conflict: WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War
Years of Service: 31
Tom was a Gunner's Mate First Class on several submarines in the early part of his Naval career.
During WWII, Tom's sub completed three successful war patrols in the Western Pacific.
Although Tom does not talk about the wars in detail, I remember hearing about one patrol that was quite daring.
The sub's mission was to pick up downed pilots so they would not be killed or taken prisoners by the Japanese forces. Using the raised periscope, the pilot would be towed a safe distance from the Japanese ships. The sub would then surface and bring the pilot on board to safety.
On one such rescue, the pilot was so close to the Japanese ships that when the rescue sub raised its periscope, the Japanese sailors could be seen throwing their lit cigarettes overboard!

After 15 years on submarines and tours on two surface ships, Tom spent the remainder of his career as a Salvage Diving Officer and instructor.
During this portion of his career he was part of the team that worked to recover two bombs from Air force fighters that fell into the Mediterranean Sea and were lost. The bombs were out of salvage diving depth and were consequently recovered by the Alvin mini sub.

During his career in the Navy, Tom received several medals and awards for his service and conduct. He earned the Vietnam Medal for his salvage diving work in clearing the Mekong River.
In a tribute to his career, Tom was featured in the Navy Times. He has the caricature in his room, it features his entire Naval career!
Tom completed his Naval career as Commanding Officer of Harbor Clearance Unit 1 salvage diving crew in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Tom and my mother, Eugenia, lived there after his retirement until moving to Las Vegas in 1980.
Tom now 91, lives in a memory residence in Las Vegas.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank A Place for Mom for their wonderful help in finding a residence for my dad. You all made a difficult and complex decision much easier and shorter! I cannot thank you enough, and I often advise people to go to your website for help!

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