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31 January 2010

Our Father: CMSGT Max Howry Tomey, USAF Retired

Paula A. Tomey-Allen 

Max Howry Tomey was born June 18, 1920 in Lancaster, Schuyler County, Missouri the third child of Paul Austin and Minnie Estella (Whitacre) Tomey. His middle name is derived from his paternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Howry) Tomey.

During his adolescent years he attended schools in Missouri and Iowa, graduating from Ottumwa High School in Ottumwa, Iowa. Following high school he attended tech school in Ottumwa and then enlisted in the United States Navy. His Navy career found him serving in various areas; his most cherished time serving upon the "USS North Carolina", now docked in Wilmington, North Carolina. During this time he was joined in marriage to Arlene Lingle of Ottumwa. The couple had one son, Michael Eugene Tomey who now resides in Ottumwa. The couple later divorced.

Upon completing three years with the Navy, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. This enlistment would become 23 total years of military service and dedication to the country that he loved so much. His career would carry him many places and would earn him many awards and praises from all whom had the opportunity to work with "Sgt. Tomey".

In 1949, while stationed in California, he met and fell in love with Thelma Laverne (Hall) Thompson and her two sons from a previous marriage, William (Bill) Thomas Thompson Jr. and Darryl Renee Thompson. Soon after their marriage they were transferred to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas where their first daughter, Paula Annette (Allen), was born in 1950. Four years later, in 1954, while stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois, they were blessed with another daughter, Lisa Joy (Davis). In 1957 the family relocated overseas to Wiesbaden Germany where they welcomed another son, Max Allen. "Little Max", as he was affectionately called, only lived about four weeks and was called Home on Jan. 22, 1958. He is buried in Burlington, Iowa at Memorial Park Cemetery, near his paternal grandparents. On Sept 9, 1959, after the family was transferred to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, another son, Jeffrey Keith was born.

Following tours in California, Texas, Illinois, Germany and Ohio the family was transferred one last time to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where then "CMSGT Tomey" retired from the military with a total of 23 years active service.

During his outstanding military career he served mostly in the field of airman assignments. His scrapbook of memories includes many letters of congratulations on his excellent untiring service and continual dedication to his service and country. A few of the stories follow.

In 1952, while stationed at Parks Air Force Base, Calif., following his suggestion as to how the military could cut 14 1/2 minutes in counseling time for processing each airman, thus saving an average of $8,200 a year to his command, his commander Major Sherman L. Elliott, Jr. writes,

It is a pleasure for me to forward this letter of appreciation to a non-commissioned officer who has indicated through methods of this sort that he is willing to sacrifice personal self in order to attain more effective results in his work. Having this information brought to my attention indicates to me that you constantly manifest a sincere and eager desire to better fulfill your duties and responsibilities. Therefore, as a result of such action and such savings to the service, it is without hesitation or equivocation that I would recommend you for any duty assignment with the candid opinion that you would always conduct yourself in such a manner as to reflect, not only upon your station, but your superiors and your uniform as well.

Then in July of 1953, Major General Harlan C. Parks, Commander of the 3275th Military Training Wing at Parks A.F.B. writes:

I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the interest and initiative shown by you in submitting your idea to complexities of the Airman Career Program.

You interest and participation in the Air Force Awards Program is appreciated and it is hoped that you will continue to submit your constructive ideas.

Sgt. Tomey went on to perform in the military service in a superior manner thus earning him several letters of appreciation from various commanders for which he worked. His most cherished accomplishment was when he received the Legion of Merit for "his outstanding performance while assigned to the military personal division of AF Logistics Command H.q., Wright- Patterson AFB, Ohio, February 1, 1958 to July 30, 1963." (photo caption, Air Force Times, 1963)

The related article states:

The only airman to receive the Air Force Legion of Merit this year is Chief M/Sgt. Max H. Tomey who won it for outstanding performance while assigned to the military personal division of Air Force Logistics Command headquarters. The 250 other Legion of Merit winners this year are officers.

Tomey was presented the medal at the new USAF Military Personal Center at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where he is now stationed.

He was cited for excellent performance while chief of the airman's assignment section from February 1958 to last July.

Shortly after arriving in 1958 Tomey was awarded one of the first of then new Air Force Commendation Medals for his activities with Headquarters Air Material Force, European area from 1955 to 1958.

During his military career some of Sgt. Tomey's citations and accommodations include:
  • The Air Force Commendation Ribbon for service from 1955 to 1958
  • The Air Force Commendation Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) for service from 1963 to 1964
  • The Legion of Merit for service from 1958 to 1963

On October 3, 2005 he was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On February 25, 2007, Sgt. Tomey or as we affectionately call him, “Dad”, passed away. The most important thing to him was his family. He never ceased to talk fondly about his family which included seven children, ten grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren – plus many nieces and nephews who remember him fondly as “Uncle Max”. 

He is so missed, but we are very fortunate to have his legacy live on with us each and every day in all that we do and say.

1 comment:

  1. A man of honor who I am proud to call "Dad" Miss him but have enough memories to last until the time comes to see him again.