CCHQ was sadly informed that Col.Thomas Fields died Nov. 29, 2009 in College Park, MD after suffering a stroke in May.
Taken from: Marine on Iwo Jima: An Interview with Col. Thomas Fields By Charlie Pfeifer
Thomas Fields was born on May 12, 1918 near Carthage, North Carolina, a town of about 300. He was the oldest of three boys. When he was six his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee and then at age 14 they moved to Maryland. Fields stayed in Maryland for high school and college. In high school he was the state champion in the half-mile event. For college he attended the University of Maryland at College Park. During college he participated in the Army ROTC program at Maryland.
He was a distance runner, running cross-country, indoor and outdoor track. Throughout his collegiate career he was well decorated, winning major races and setting multiple records in every year he competed. During his senior year, Fields was undefeated in cross-country and won numerous mile and two-mile races.
Upon graduation in 1942, Fields entered the Marine Corps officer training school and was soon in actual combat in a parachute battalion. He was in the last stages of combat on Guadalcanal before seeing combat at Vella Lavella and Bouganville. After Bouganville his parachute battalion was split up and Fields became a rifle company commander. Shortly thereafter he traveled to Iwo Jima. Landing in the second wave, Fields survived all 36 days of combat on Iwo Jima and was given a Bronze Star citation. Following Iwo Jima his company moved back to Hawaii to prepare for an invasion of Japan. After the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fields became part of the occupying force of Japan for months before moving back to the United States and staying in the Marine Corps. He saw more action in Korea and was promoted to Colonel before spending more than a year in Vietnam as a liaison to visitors. After Vietnam, Fields stayed in the Marines for a couple of years before retiring in 1970.
In 1970 he became an Executive Director for the Maryland Educational Foundation, raising money for the University of Maryland. In 1987, he was inducted into the University of Maryland Hall of Fame and in 1989 he retired. He suffered a stroke in May 2009. He is survived by his wife Patricia.
Funeral is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12th at Riderwood Village at 2 pm, followed by a reception from 3 to 5 pm also at Riderwood. Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery on Tues., Dec. 15th at 2:30 pm. At the time of his death, he lived at Riderwood Village, a retirement community, at 3140 Gracefield Rd., Silver Spring, Md.