#VeteranOfTheDay Thomas Ellis


Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Corps Veteran Thomas Ellis.

Thomas served as an administrator for the first all-black Army Air Forces unit, known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He was assigned 332nd Fighter Group that fought the Germans over Europe protecting American bombers in red-tailed P-51 Mustangs and was proud of his unit’s accomplishments: 15,533 sorties, 112 aerial kills, 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Presidential Unit Citations.

After he was drafted in 1942, Thomas went to Tuskegee Airfield and was the only enlisted airman in the newly activated 301st Fighter Squadron. He rose quickly through the ranks while managing personnel records, serving under Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., who eventually became an Air Force general.

After the war, Thomas served in the U.S. Postal Service and retired in 1984. He was also an accomplished jazz pianist who led a quintet.

Thomas passed away Jan. 2, 2017. We honor his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to newmedia@va.gov with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.


Melissa Heintz

Melissa Heintz joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015 and currently works as the National Veterans Day Coordinator, National Veterans Outreach. She grew up on an Army base in Japan before her family relocated to Hawaii. She holds a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications and Spanish from Seattle University. Melissa has served as a public affairs specialist with Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In December 2015, Melissa commissioned in the Air National Guard where she serves as a public affairs officer with the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard.