ARLINGTON, Va. – Wisconsin native Lawrence Thoms was promoted by senior officials and his family to major general during a ceremony held at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes on December 14, 2020.
Thoms received the certificate of promotion from former U.S. Army Pacific commander Gen. (Retired) Robert B. Brown, who also served as the ceremony host and administered the commissioning oath to the new two-star general.
Brown recognized Thoms’ family’s support and record of military service, then turned to talk about the ceremony honoree.
“I saw first-hand Larry’s accomplishments” in Hawaii, Brown said. “He had the toughest assignments […] When I looked at all of the things that were in Larry’s area of responsibility, I was able to tell the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of Defense, and [U.S. Indo-Pacific Command] that we can do the mission.”
Coronavirus limited the number of in-person ceremony attendees to his wife Karen, son, two sisters, their children, several former military colleagues and West Point classmates. However, numerous family members, military colleagues and classmates were able to witness the ceremony virtually through a live feed on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System (DVIDS).
Commissioned into the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps in 1984 after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, Maj. Gen. Thoms currently serves as the military deputy to the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6 Lt. Gen. John Morrison.
Thoms’ military career began with service in Cold War-era West Germany. John Reidt was a company commander in 26th Signal Battalion, and Thoms cited him as especially influential for setting him on the right course as a junior officer.
‘Leaders go where the battle is,’ Thoms quoted Reidt’s standing guidance for his company leaders in Germany. Reidt’s definition of “battles” toward which leaders need to direct their attention and energy included everything that their Soldiers need to do to succeed in combat, from tactics, to maintenance, to acquiring the correct warm weather gear for field training in the cold European winters.
Thoms returned to Germany for a second assignment as a captain, during which his unit deployed to the Middle East for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-1991, then commanded the 58th Signal Company.
In 1995, Maj. Gen. Thoms transitioned to the Army Reserve where he served in a series of operational and training assignments culminating in active duty command of the 311th Signal Command (Theater) based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. He was responsible for joint communications support across the Asia-Pacific region just prior to moving to current duties with the Army Staff’s G-6.
Army G-6 sets the unified command, control, communications and computer network; postures signal and cyber forces to support multi-domain operations; reforms and operationalizes cybersecurity processes; and drives balanced, efficient and effective network and cyber investments.
In addition to his commander from Hawaii serving as ceremony host, Maj. Gen. Thoms’ former U.S. Army Pacific colleague and current deputy Chief of Chaplains Brig. Gen. William Green’s invocation and benediction opened and closed the ceremony, respectively.
His service followed the example of his deceased father who was drafted and served in the Army during the Korean War, followed by a long career as a citizen-Soldier and Army Reservist, ultimately rising to the rank of command sergeant major. Thoms commented that he felt that Sgt. Maj. Jack Nichols and Sgt. Maj. Tracy Barlogio, who unfurled and presented his two-star flag, represented his dad at the ceremony.
Maj. Gen. Thoms' full biography is available at this link: https://go.usa.gov/xArxA
Video of Maj. Gen. Thoms’ promotion is available on DVIDS: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/776643/promotion-ceremony-brigadier-general-lawrence-thoms