Artist and Aircraft mechanic Airman 1st Class Robert Thomas

  • Published
  • By CMSgt Gene Thomas, OreANG (ret.)
  • 142nd Fighter Wing History Office
The artist is "A1C Robert Thomas," an Oregon Air Guardsman from 1968 to 1974, who served in aircraft maintenance with the 142d Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (142nd CAMS). He presently lives near the Air Base and has an art business in downtown Portland,

In May 1973 he drew 21 black ink drawings of OreANG members in action at the base, and donated them to his squadron.

After 38 years, we located Robert Thomas in 2012, and gave him a personal tour through the aircraft maintenance area where he once worked on "Century Series" F-102 and F-101 fighter-interceptor aircraft during his six-year enlistment. SMSgt Ray Dahm was his flight supervisor, and Sgt Eli Leija his NCO trainer.

In 1973, when Robert Thomas finished the drawings, they were hung throughout the maintenance area, and some at the 142d Fighter Group Headquarters building; however now only four can be found - perhaps the F-101 Voodoo zapped them! When we passed along this observation to him, he proudly donated another exact set of drawings to the 142d Fighter Wing. This set is now on display in the 142d Maintenance Group's Training Classroom, and will be watched and guarded with an "Eagle Eye."

Robert Thomas enjoyed his deployments with the unit to Panama City, Florida, and Anchorage, Alaska; he completed his six-year military obligation in 1974, and become a Veteran. He also has found memories of his supervisors, the aircraft he worked and the time drawing those "Oregon Air National Guard Images" which have become excellent history items.

The present 142nd Fighter Wing inherited leadership from that "Century Series" era in which Robert Thomas served; some of those Air Guardsmen and women who served then are Chiefs today.