The Virginia National Guard’s Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team dedicated the command conference room in their armory to Col. Thomas S. Dallas Sr. Nov. 10, 2022. Dallas was the 1st Battalion executive officer during the June 6, 1944, D-Day landing at Normandy and later commanded the battalion through operations in Europe. The 1st Battalion command team and Dallas’ children unveiled the new sign dedication the conference in his honor.
More than 1,000 Virginia and Kentucky National Guard troops under the command of the 1st Battalion recently returned from federal active duty after spending nine months mobilized as Task Force Red Dragon conducting security operations throughout the Horn of Africa. They also provided the East Africa Response Force in support of the U.S. government for crisis response throughout East Africa. Read more about their mission at https://ngpa.us/21687
“When we were preparing for our deployment to the Horn of Africa, we made decisions in our battalion conference room impacting our Soldiers every day,” explained Col. Jim Tierney, commander of 1st Battalion. “Now we are back, and we thought Veterans Day would be a good time to dedicate the room to one of the battalion’s most distinguished leaders. Col. Dallas led the Soldiers of 1st Battalion during an incredibly challenging time, so honoring his sacrifice and leadership provides a personal reminder of the weight and importance of the decisions that will be made in this room for years to come.”
George and Kathryn Dallas, the surviving children of Col. Dallas, were on hand for the dedication.
“It is honoring my father,” George Dallas said. “We have always held him in high regard, so to find out other people are holding him in that same regard just increases the proudness we have for him. It is an honor he is still thought of.”
“This is very special and an incredible honor,” Kathryn Dallas said. “He was a great man to me, and I was so young when I lost him, to hear other people respected him so much and appreciated all that he did is very meaningful to me. We are so thankful.”
Tierney said this will also serve as a way to educate Soldiers on how they're members of a storied unit and part of something larger than themselves.
“It's important to maintain the lineage and honors not just of the unit, but of the individual Soldiers and leaders,” Tierney said. "The Dallas Conference Room will be where the leaders of the 1st Battalion come together to develop plans and discuss how to best lead our Soldiers, whether in training or in support of our federal or state mission.“
According to the 116th Infantry Regiment Roll of Honor, Dallas was born in North Carolina in 1913, and his family later moved to Martinsville, Virginia, where he enlisted in H Company, 116th Infantry in 1932. He rose to the rank of sergeant, then attended officer training and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1937.
He was promoted to captain in 1941 when the battalion was federalized at Fort Meade, Maryland, and he served as the battalion’s adjutant. He was later promoted to major and was the executive officer when they landed at Omaha Beach, and he was instrumental in getting the battalion off the beach and moving inland. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions.
Dallas took command of the battalion not long after D-Day, and he is remembered for leading the capture of Fort Montbarey in France where he orchestrated infantry, combat engineers, cannons, tanks and flamethrowers to take control of the German-controlled stronghold.
He continued to serve after the war with a tour of duty in Japan followed by an assignment as the senior Army advisor to the Alaska National Guard. He was killed in a helicopter crash in 1962, and he is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
More photos and video on Flickr at https://ngpa.us/22593
Read more about Col. Dallas at the 116th Regimental Honor Roll web site at https://ngpa.us/22453
Read more about the taking of Fort Montbarey on NormandyAmericanHeroes.com at https://ngpa.us/22455
Watch video of the 116th Infantry, 29th Division advanceing in Eschweiler, Germany, on the National Archives at https://ngpa.us/22591