BY DUANE A. VACHON, PH.D. Thomas James Reeves was born in Thomaston, Connecticut, December 9, 1895. When Reeves was 23 he enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve as Electrician third class. He was released from duty July 21, 1919. On April 16, 1920 he was recalled to active duty and was transferred to the regular Navy and served until discharged on August 21, 1921. Reeves having found the Navy life to his liking made a decision to make the Navy his career and re-enlisted on October 12, 1921.
During that attack the mechanized ammunition hoists in the battleship were put out of commission. Reeves on his own initiative, in a burning passageway, assisted in the maintenance of an ammunition supply by hand to the antiaircraft guns until he was overcome by smoke and fire which resulted in his death. For his distinguished conduct, RMC Reeves posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
Medal of Honor citation of Chief Radioman Thomas James Reeves (as printed in the official publication “Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy”, page 248):
“For distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese Forces on 7 December 1941. After the mechanized ammunition hoists were put out of action in the U.S.S. California, REEVES, on his own initiative, in a burning passageway, assisted in the maintenance of an ammunition supply by hand to the antiaircraft guns until he was overcome by smoke and fire, which resulted in his death.”
RMC Thomas J Reeves is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific Honolulu Hawaii, USA. His resting place is Section A, Grave 884.