Thomas Loftin Andrews, Jr., was born in Amarillo, Texas, on October 29, 1920, son of Thomas L. and Addie (Foster) Andrews. He attended Amarillo High School and Amarillo Junior College, where he played football and baseball and was a member of Sigma Alpha Delta (Engineering Fraternity) and Delta Kappa Chi (Educational Fraternity). He played with the Amarillo BLUES, a Semi-Pro Baseball Team in 1938-40. He had CAA Primary and Advanced Flight Training, and prior to entering the US Naval Reserve was employed for a short time by the Amarillo Air Service.
Appointed Aviation Cadet, USNR, on January 13, 1941, he trained with Class 159-C at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and was designated Naval Aviator and commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve on June 6, 1941. Through subsequent advancement and his transfer to the US Navy in 1946, he attained the rank of Captain, USN, to date from July 1, 1960.
At the outbreak of World War II he was a Flight Instructor (Primary, Instrument, Bombers and Torpedo Planes) at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas, where he remained until August 1943. He then served for a year as Operations Officer of Composite Squadron FIVE, based on the USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) (a part of Task Unit 77.4.3, which won the Presidential Unit Citation for heroic service at Samar, Philippine Islands on October 25, 1944). From January to December 1945 he commanded Torpedo Squadron TWENTY-SIX, based on USS Santee, which also won the Presidential Unit Citation for service in the Pacific (including Okinawa Gunto and THIRD Fleet Operations against Japan in 1945).
He was personally awarded the Navy Cross and the Air Medal, with the following citations:
Navy Cross: “For extraordinary heroism while serving with Composite Squadron FIVE, attached to USS Kitkun Bay in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle off Samar on October 25, 1944. When our unprotected destroyer escorts and escort carriers were attacked by major units of the Japanese Fleet, (he) organized a skillful torpedo attack and, after his ship had been under enemy shellfire for several coordinated assault against a heavy cruiser, scoring one of several direct hits amidships which caused the hostile vessel to sink a few hours later…”
Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Torpedo Bombing Plane, during action against enemy Japanese forces on the Island of Peleliu in the Palau Group, September 15, 1944. Skillfully leading a flight of planes, (he) aided directly in the destruction of many enemy tanks which were counter-attacking our troops and, by repulsing this serious enemy thrust, contributed materially to the success of our operations…”
After his return to the United States in January 1946, he commanded Training Plane Squadron 2D at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas, and from July 1946 to May 1947 was a student at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island. The next two years, he served as Carrier Air Group Operation and Training Officer on the Staff of Commander Air Force, Pacific, after which he was Operation Officer at the Naval Air Station, Charleston, Rhode Island. During the period April 1950 to June 1952, he was Attack Design Project Officer in the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and after instruction with the Heavy Attack Unit at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, reported in November 1952 as Executive Officer of Composite Squadron SEVEN.
From May 1954 until June 1955, he commanded the Heavy Attack Training Unit at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, then served as Chief of the Stockpile Operations Branch, Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, Field Command, Sandia Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico. While in Albuquerque, he attended the University of New Mexico, from which he received he degree of Bachelor of Science in Education. In August 1957, he reported as Special Weapons Officer on the staff of Commander Naval Air Force, US Pacific Fleet, and in that capacity participated in the last of the atomic weapons tests at Eniwetok/Bikini. In September 1958, he became Operations Officer on board USS Lexington (CVA-16) and in November 1959 reported as Director, Operations Division, Defense Atomic Support Agency, Washington, DC. During that time he had graduate study at American University. He was detached in May 1962 to command the Fleet Activities, Ryukyus/Naval Air Facility, Naha, Okinawa. In August 1964, he assumed command of the Naval Air Station, Olathe, Kansas, and in March 1966 was ordered to duty at the Pacific Missile Range, Point Mugu.
In Addition to the Navy Cross, Air Medal, and Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with two stars, Captain Andrews has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four engagement stars; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
He died July 25, 2011.