2016 Distinguished Alumni Honoree
Mr. Tom Murray, ‘57
Tom Murray was born in Lubbock, Texas and raised in Hobbs, New Mexico, and Del City, Oklahoma. He entered OMA for his junior year in high school and left after his first year of junior college. As an OMA cadet, he was on the President’s Honor Roll and received the Outstanding Cadet Identification Disc all three years. He won the Reserve Officers Association award and also was selected as the outstanding graduating cadet in the high school class of 1957. In junior college, he was the president of his freshman class, became a Distinguished Military Student (DMS) and was Commander of the Outstanding Company for the second semester. In his three years at OMA, he earned seven Athletic letters, was the Tri-Captain of the 1956 high school team and received a football scholarship for his freshman year in junior college.
In July 1958, Tom entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Graduating in June 1962, he entered the Army as Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery. He served 20 years before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. During his Army service, he served in a wide variety of command and staff jobs. He was a paratrooper (30 jumps), a Ranger and an Army Aviator qualified in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. As an aviator, he accumulated more than 2,400 flying hours of which more than 1,300 were logged during two years in Vietnam. After acquiring a master’s degree in management from the University of Arizona, Tom was designated as an Army Research and Development Coordinator. In this capacity, his concern was the establishment of Army materiel requirements and management functions related to the Army materiel acquisition process. Some results of his efforts are the
AH-1Q Tow Cobra attack helicopter, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and the UH-60 Blackhawk utility helicopter. Among his Army decorations are three Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars, a Navy Commendation Medal with “V’ for valor, two Meritorious Service Medals and 28 Air Medals.
After retiring from the Army, he entered the aerospace industry as the Army Business Development Manager for Lear Siegler in Santa Monica, California. Later, he became Director of New Products, concerned with technology transfer and license agreements with foreign countries. Moving to Litton Data Systems in 1995, he became the Business Development Program Manager and later Director of the Rapid Deployment Systems Strategic Business Unit (SBU). Litton was purchased by Northrup Grumman in 2001. With Northrup, Tom became the Business Development lead for the improved glass cockpit for the USMC AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters. In a partnership with Bell Helicopter, he worked on the Japanese, Turkish and Korean Advance Attack helicopter programs. He retired from Northrop in late 2002 and moved to The Villages, Florida with his wife of 54 years, Rae Ann, whom he married on the day of his graduation from West Point. They have two children, Michelle and Tom III, and six grandchildren of whom they are very proud.
“I was just a boy when I entered OMA, but what I learned there, from the faculty and my fellow cadets, prepared me well for the rest of my life,” he says.