Not exactly a pretty picture, but then again, Thomas Hall on Virginia Tech’s Upper Quad isn’t much to look at either. And I would know - I lived there for the first three semesters of my college career, including the great ice storm of 1994 when we lost power and water for days. I remember Shultz Dining Hall serving PBJ and bags of chips because they couldn’t cook anything. Ah, those were the days.
And now for a little game called “did you know…”
Thomas Hall was built in 1949 and renovated in 1970 and 2004. It is located in the Upper Quad of campus. Thomas Hall is home to 355 residents and features newly tiled bathrooms and large lounges. Thomas Hall is close to Shultz Dining Center and Squires Student Center.
Thomas Hall is named for Sgt. Herbert J. Thomas. Born in 1918, he studied business administration at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (now called Virginia Tech).
Thomas, a member of Virginia Tech’s Athletic Hall of Fame, was a legendary football player. During his senior year he was the second highest scorer in the Southern Conference and received All-American honors. He never graduated with the class of 1941 because he went to war two months before commencement.
A member of the U.S. Marine Corps, Thomas was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during World War II for action against enemy Japanese forces during the battle at the Koromokina River, Bougainville Island, Solomon Islands, on Nov. 7, 1943.
Although several of his men were struck by enemy bullets as he led his squad through dense jungle undergrowth in the face of severe hostile machine gun fire, he was successful in destroying two enemy machine gun positions. Halted by a third enemy machine gun, he positioned his men to rush the enemy after he threw a hand grenade. But when he threw the grenade, it reflected off the jungle vines and dropped back among his men. Thomas deliberately flung himself upon the grenade to smother the explosion, valiantly sacrificing his life for his comrades. Inspired by his selfless action, his men unhesitatingly charged the enemy machine gun, and with fierce determination, killed the crew and several other nearby defenders.