U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL CORPS
Hall of Fame
Major Herbert W. Thornton Jr.
Major Herbert W. Thornton, Jr. was born on 23 August 1925. He served in the Coast Guard during WWII and as an Army rifleman during the Korean War. In 1957 he was selected for a direct commission in the United States Army Reserve and was later activated in the Chemical Corps.
In 1965, Major Thornton deployed to the Republic of Vietnam as an Assistant Division Chemical Officer. Given the task of clearing the extensive Viet Cong tunnel systems, he developed a system and established a school to train “Tunnel Rat” soldiers. As “Father of the Tunnel Rats” his tactics were so effective that, despite his junior rank of captain at the time, the Viet Cong placed him on their “Ten Most Wanted” list and singled him out for execution.
Major Herbert W. Thornton died on 15 June 1996 in Anniston, Alabama.