Michael Thome was born on 14 July 1958 in Geneva, New York. He was commissioned through the ROTC program at the University of Alabama. Then LT Thome attended the Field Artillery Basic Course and the Field Artillery Offices Cannon Battery Course at Fort Sill, OK. He then transitioned to aviation becoming a “Charter Member of the Aviation Branch”. After flight school, LT Thome moved to Ft. Bragg, NC, where he became a member of 1-17th Calvary Squadron and part of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). Michael is qualified in the AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter and the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter. He served as an Instructor Pilot in the AH-1 and AH-64 for almost four years before going back to an operational unit. This training ultimately led him to Desert Shield/Storm as a company commander and flight lead with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 229th Attack Helicopter Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). On 27 February 1991, Captain Thome participated in a rescue mission involving a downed USAF pilot near Al Basrah, Iraq. As his helicopter neared the pick-up point, he came under heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire from the Iraqi Republican Guard Forces resulting in the destruction of a friendly UH-60 Blackhawk rescue helicopter. Captain Thome’s exceptional flying skills and demonstrated valor averted any further losses. His heroic actions resulted in the award of the Air Medal with Valor Device. Colonel Thome retired from the U.S. Army in November 2013 after 32 ½ years of active and reserve service. Michael currently serves as a Vice President of Programs for Science Applications International Corporation in Huntsville, AL, where he has been employed since September 2003.