Thomas G. Gaston
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 11/25/1941 - 11/23/1945
Inspect and repair clothing designed to repel chemical agents.

He was born in Texarkana, Arkansas, to Harry J. and Martha Black Gaston. His grandfather was a glass blower, and his father a glasscutter, a profession Thomas followed, too. When he was four the family moved to Shreveport. He graduated from Fair Park High School in 1936, and enrolled at Rice University. Thomas worked his way through college on a survey crew in Corpus Christi one summer, and in the glass factory back home. Knowing he would soon be drafted he decided not to return to school and worked until November of 1941 when he was called into the U.S. Army. Thomas was trained at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland chemical warfare service. He was then selected as part of a training cadre, and remained for two years as an instructor. Thomas met his wife, Mary Susan Quinter, while in Maryland. They married August 9, 1943. They have two sons, a daughter, ten grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. Thomas was shipped to Camp Sibert near Gadsden, Alabama, where he trained recruits until June of 1944. Then he was shipped to Guadalcanal as part of the 123rd Chemical Impregnating Company. Instead of impregnating clothes, however, he says his unit stacked bombs. "We worked like shift work," he says "Three shifts around the clock." They also cleaned mortar shells, and loaded and unloaded ship cargo. Meanwhile, Thomas was in charge of the company area. Thomas weighed 148 pounds when he went overseas, 135 when he returned. On Guadalcanal, he says, meals mainly consisted of dehydrated foods, beef bullion, and Spam. Thomas remained on Guadalcanal until November of 1945. He also worked on Bougainville "for three or four weeks" along with duty on "two or three other little islands." Thomas was discharged at Indiantown Gap near Annville, Pennsylvania. He and May came down to Shreveport in 1946. He worked for Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass for 35 years before retiring in 1976.