Thomas Brown Gautier, Jr., a native of Charleston, was born January 20, 1921.  He entered The Citadel in the 1938-1939 academic year as a Cadet Recruit. He was Cadet First Sergeant of Cadet Company “G”, a member of the Bond Volunteers, and a member of Junior Sword Drill his junior year. A Cadet Captain his senior year, he commanded Cadet Company “G” and was a member of the Summerall Guards. “Tommy” graduated from The Citadel in 1942 with a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering.

Thomas B Gautier Jr 1942

Cadet Captain Thomas B. Gautier, Class of 1942 [1]

After The Citadel, he was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and assigned to the 111th Engineering Combat Battalion, 36th Infantry Division. 1LT Gautier was with the 111th in March 1943 at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts.[2] The Division set sail for North Africa in April, 1943, participated in the assault landing at Salerno, December 9, 1943, fought north through Italy until July 1944, and was part of Operation Dragoon, the assault landing in Southern France in August 1944. During the landing on the French Riviera, Capt. Gautier’s bravery at Green Beach was recorded…

“Meanwhile, on Green Beach, heavy artillery, ammunition, special units were unloaded as rapidly as the ships could be brought into the limited landing space. At dusk, the Germans staged their only successful air raid on the fleet standing offshore. A glider bomb from a low flying plane caught an ammunition loaded LST. The ship blazed up rapidly. Shouting to his engineers to stay away, Capt. Thomas B. Gautier, Charlestown, S.C., raced into the water to give aid, braving exploding ammunition and fire and flying hot steel. His men followed and from sundown to midnight they worked, swimming, using makeshift rafts to get to the ship and back with over one hundred injured men.” [3]

His classmate, 1LT Franklyn M. Ketchum, ’42, also serving with the 36th Infantry Division, was killed in action the day after that landing. Lieutenant Ketchum rests in peace at Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan, France.

Cpt Thomas Brown Gautier

Cpt. Thomas B. Gautier, Jr., Class of 1942
January 20, 1921 – December 9, 1944 [4]

The 111th Engineer Combat Battalion along with the 36th Infantry Division and U.S. Seventh Army continued its way north through France. At the beginning of December, they were fighting their way out of the Vosges into the Alsace in the vicinity of Selestat and Sigolsheim. On December 9, 1944. Capt. Gautier, assigned to the Headquarters and Service Company, died in France of wounds he received in combat.[5]

Following the war, Captain Gautier’s body was repatriated and interred at his final resting place of Arlington National Cemetery, section 34, grave 4935 on July 22, 1949.[6]

He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. [7]


[1] Photo source: 1942 Sphinx, South Carolina Corps of Cadets, The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, p. 115.
[4] Photo courtesy of The Citadel Archives and Museum, Charleston, South Carolina
[5] NARA, U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Form