It is with great sadness that we report on the 2nd of January, Thomas Ellis, one of six remaining Tuskegee airmen in San Antonio, passed away from a stroke. Thomas was a Sergeant Major in the United States Army and will be buried at Fort Sam Houston with full military honors at 9 a.m.

As a veteran and part of the greatest generation, Thomas disregarded things he saw as trivial in order to get the job done. Understanding the time in which he lived, being in the segregated military, Thomas strived to ensure that the 332nd Fighter Group always accomplished the mission given to them. Accomplish the mission they did, during 15,533 combat sorties, the unit racked up 112 aerial kills, 3 Presidential Unit Citations, and 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses.

For such a man our words seem trivial and unable to measure up to the tremendous character and service Sgt. Major Ellis gave to our nation and to our community. Thomas stands as a sterling example to veterans returning from war. He was voted ‘Man of the Year’ at St. Paul Methodist Church and maintained an easy going and approachable demeanor. Despite the hardships of life, Thomas Ellis remained a model citizen till his passing. He set an example for the rest of us to follow and we shall not let him down.

Not many of our World War 2 veterans remain. They persevered and triumphed in a war which demanded so much of them and asked that they see horrors the likes of which had never been seen before. Sgt. Major Thomas Ellis, we thank you for your dedication and promise to always remember your faithful, steadfast resolve in your service to our nation in its time of need, despite the ignorance that was so prevalent in your early life.

The greatest tribute we can give is to live our lives by walking the path you set before us. We will strive to be strong in our resolve and our character, and kind to everyone we meet. Godspeed Sgt. Major Thomas Ellis.

Originally published by American Grit. Read more here: