Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command: Who Is Raymond A. Thomas III?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Raymond A. Thomas III

Gen. Raymond A. “Tony” Thomas III, a long-time member of the special operations community, was appointed to command the U.S. Special Operations Command on March 30, 2016.


Thomas was born in Philadelphia on October 6, 1958. He went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1980 with a commission as a second lieutenant. Thomas later earned an M.A. in international studies at the Army War College and an M.S. in the same subject at the Naval Command and Staff College.


Thomas was initially with a mechanized infantry unit but soon transferred to the Rangers. He made a combat jump into Grenada in 1983 and another, six years later, into Panama. Thomas then joined Delta Force, the Army’s elite special operations unit. He served as troop commander, squadron operations officer, unit executive officer and squadron commander with Delta Force.


In 2000, Thomas took over as commander of a Ranger battalion without having served as a regular infantry battalion commander first, a break with tradition. He took his unit to Afghanistan three months after the 9/11 attacks and, from 2001 to 2013, spent part of every year except one in Afghanistan. Thomas was made director of operations and chief of staff of the Joint Special Operations Command in 2003. He moved over to the 1st Armored Division as assistant divisional commander in 2007, serving 15 months in Iraq. While there, he survived a car-bomb attack on his armored vehicle.


Thomas was moved to Washington in 2009 as deputy director for special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The following year, he was made deputy commanding general at Joint Special Operations Command and in 2012 was named commanding general of the Special Operations Joint Task Force—Afghanistan/NATO Special Operations Component Command.


In 2013, Thomas went to work at the Central Intelligence Agency as its associate director of military affairs. The following year, he took over as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., the unit that oversees secret counter-terrorism units including Delta Force and the Navy’s SEALS. He was in that post until being given Special Operations Command.


Thomas has a reputation of being a straight-talker and inspiring loyalty from those he commands. He’s known for giving subordinates a copy of “Gates of Fire,” a novel about the last stand of 300 Spartan hoplites at Thermopylae, and discussing it with them during five-mile runs.


Thomas and his wife, Barbara, have two sons, both graduates of West Point.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

The Shadowy JSOC General Expected to Be Next Leader of America’s Special Operations Forces (by Wesley Morgan, Washington Post)

New Socom Leader Thomas Known for Broad Experience, Honest Talk (by Howard Altman, Tampa Bay Times)

Official Biography


Sherry L Burt 5 years ago
I also have a Anthony Thomas connect on Facebook to me he said he was a widow and has s daughter that is 17 and lives in Plano Texas. He told me he is in Yemen at this time and would be returning to Texas to retire in September. Hadn't asked me for anything as of yet but in sure this is a scam of somekind
Pittsburgh 5 years ago
Is this General Raymond Thomas still contacting you online?..... curious... I think we may be experiencing the same thing (hmmmm)
S.Creese 5 years ago
I too was contacted through Words with friend and he introduced himself as widowed who lost his wife and daughter and had a 17 year old son in NY. He said he is with peace keeping mission stationed in Kabul. He even asked me to help his son in trouble by sending him 200 dollars that's where I got suspicious about his identity. Is there away to stop him? who should we contact?
Murviam Guevara 5 years ago
Yo tambien he recibido por el instagram la solicitud de seguimiento de un General que se hace llamar Raymond Thomas y son las mismas fotografias del verdadero Raymond Thomas. Desde un principio dude de su identidad y decidi investigar. Dice que esta en Siria, divorciado y tiene una hija llamada Drew. Es preciso que el verdadero General tome cartas en este asunto porque es grave.
Sandy 5 years ago
I have been contacted by General Raymond Thomas. He says that he is in Afghanistan. We chat on line. He doesn’t my phone number or exactly where I am. Is this the real General Raymond Thomas? Please respond, Thank you
C Powell 5 years ago
I too was contacted through the POF dating website in the past week by someone posing to be Gen. Raymond A. Thomas! This is so disgusting and I hope that the "real" Gen Thomas has been made aware of this!! I am sure there isn't anything he can do about it. I for one am just going to stay off ALL websites like this from now on.
Linda 5 years ago
I have had the same experience as Jill Shirley above. An individual contacted me on POF. She information as above - states he is in Africa. He only has my email address - not phone #
Jill Shirley 6 years ago
I have information that a person might be impersonating General Raymond Thomas. I have been trying to unravel this for almost a year. I am desperate for TRUE information about the real General so I can figure all of this out. He stated to me on 6-12-18 that he is in Africa and has sent me numerous emails and text messages on my telephone. I have been trying to get to the root of this. Please respond to me.

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