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Thomas H. Magness, III "Tom"

Company L-2

7 May 1937 – 28 Dec 2004

Place of Death: Washington DC

Interment: Arlington National Cemetery

Tom Magness passed away at 1930 hours, 28 December, at the VA Hospital in Washington DC.  Beloved husband of Dhana L. Magness; father of Lt. Col. Thomas H. Magness, IV, John M. Magness, Jennifer E. Perrier and Paul Scott Magness; brother of David M. Magness and the late Charles F. Magness; grandfather of Jenna, Chelsea, Shelby, John Michael Jr. and Gary Thomas.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Tom was held at 10:45 am, 5 January, at the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia, followed by burial in Arlington National Cemetery.  A reception was held afterward at the Fort Myer Officers Club.

Messages of condolences can be sent to Dhana and her family at 11721 Saddle Crescent Circle, Oakton, VA  22124.

Donations in lieu of flowers should be sent to the Chaplain's Service Fund, VA Hospital, Attn: Hospice Unit, 50 Irving Street, Washington, DC 20422.


Class Memorial Pages\L-2 Tom Magness.pdf

A tribute to a great soldier and gentleman. As Tom joins the Long grey Line, we can cherish his friendship and camaraderie. He will be missed by us all. God be with him and his family. He joins others of us that have lost loved family members in 2004. God Bless….

Paul Valley

To The Magness Family:

Please accept our sincere condolences on behalf of the Olshansky Family.

We have such fond memories of Tom from when he and Dhana hosted the Class of '61 for a class social at their beautiful home in Virginia.  When our son Tory was a Cadet, Class of  '97, Tom 's son was a "P" and extended his warmth to another class son. And Tom and his son extended their hospitality to us to attend their renown "Department Lobster Bake".   We will cherish these memories.
" Well Done!"

Myra & Shane

Obituary from funeral program:

Colonel (Ret) Thomas H. "Tom" Magness III went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, December 28,2004 at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Washington, DC, surrounded by family and friends.

Tom was born May 7, 1937 in Baltimore, MD, the son of the late Colonel Thomas H. Magness, Jr. and Alice Severs Magness.

He graduated from West Point in 1961 and was commissioned as an artillery officer. He served in field artillery units in Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina and Turkey. He served as an Artillery Battalion operations officer in Vietnam where he was severely wounded in action in 1970, earning a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. He transferred to the Corps of Engineers in 1974. Tom spent the remainder of his career in Army environmental management positions to include assignments at West Point, Fort Monroe, US Army - Europe, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. His career culminated with an assignment as the Chief of the Army's Environmental Office in the Pentagon. He retired as a Colonel in 1986.

As a Vice President for Tetra Tech in Fairfax, VA, Tom continued to serve the nation, working on environmental issues associated with Army transformation and the Joint Stewardship Working Group. He worked with National Guard units around the country on environmental assessments and taught courses on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at Duke University and at West Point. Tom's work at Tetra Tech gave him an opportunity to protect the wildlife he loved-from the most common species to an endangered blue butterfly in New Hampshire or red-cockaded woodpecker in South Carolina. More importantly, it allowed him to share his extensive knowledge of natural resource conservation with the young professionals he mentored and the countless military personnel he taught across the country. The ripple effect of his teaching, policy-making, problem-solving, and people" skills will continue to create stewards of the environment far into the future. A registered Professional Engineer, Tom was awarded the de Fleury Medal in 2004 for a lifetime of service to the Corps of Engineers.

Tom made many friends during and after his military career. He made meaningful, lasting relationships with all whom he came in contact. He was a man of deep faith, active in his church, a lover of wildlife and the outdoors, and a devoted family man. He was active with the Northern Virginia USMA Class of 1961 organization, Christians in Commerce, and countless environmental and engineering organizations including the Society of American Military Engineers and the National Defense Industrial Association.

He is survived by the love of his life, his wife Dhana, of Oakton, VA; three sons, LTC Thomas H. IV (USMA '85), John M. (USMA '86), Paul S. (Norwich '95) and a daughter, Jennifer E. Perrier (UV A '91); a brother, David M. Magness of Arlington, VA; and five grandchildren.

The family requests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Veteran's Administration Hospital, Chaplain's Service Fund at 50 Irving Street, Washington, DC, 20422 (Attn: Hospice Unit).  

After the service, a reception was held at the Ft. Myer Officers Club.


Assembly/Taps Memorial Article:

Thomas H. Magness III 1961

Cullum No. 23584-1961 | December 28, 2004 | Died in Washington, DC
Interred in Arlington National Cemetery, VA


Thomas Henry “Tom” Magness III the son of Colonel Thomas H. Magness Jr. and Alice Severs Magness, was born in Baltimore, MD. Beloved husband of Dhana L. Magness, Tom and his wife raised four children: Thomas H. Magness IV, who graduated West Point in 1985; John, who graduated West Point in 1986; Jennifer; and Paul, who graduated from Norwich University in 1995. At the time of Tom’s death in 2004 there were five grandchildren.

Appointed to West Point in 1956, Tom quickly became an active, versatile cadet, participating at various times on the Rifle and Wrestling teams, the Debate Council and Forum, and in the French, Pistol and Ski clubs. A man of abiding faith, he demonstrated his constancy through service with the Catholic Acolytes, on the Newman Forum, and in the cadet Catholic Chapel Choir. As expressed in the 1961 Howitzer, he was always a supportive member of Company L-2 and readily helped others through his enthusiasm and positive outlook.

Upon graduation and commissioning in Field Artillery, he served in various artillery units in the United States and Turkey. He received his master’s in oceanography from the University of Wisconsin in 1968. In 1969, he deployed to the Republic of Vietnam and served as the operations officer of an 8-inch howitzer battalion along the Cambodian border. There, the enemy mounted a furious regimental size attack on his fire support base (FSB), which resulted in his position nearly being overrun. Tom and his battery fought bravely despite overwhelming enemy numbers. He was critically wounded during the valiant defense of the FSB, for which he received the Silver Star and Purple Heart.

While recovering from his extensive wounds, he was transferred to West Point, where he was a pioneer in developing the Environmental Engineering curriculum while teaching in the Department of Earth, Space, and Graphic Sciences from 1971 to 1974. While there, he spearheaded the startup of the USMA Scuba Club and led many cadet scuba trips, including cleaning up the mountain lakes around West Point. It was while stationed at West Point that he met the love of his life, Dhana. Within a year of meeting they were married at West Point. Dhana’s daughter, Jennifer, joined Tom’s two boys in the new family. In 1972, Dhana gave birth to another son, Paul. While at West Point, and despite his numerous combat injuries, Tom could be found hunting or hiking around the Hudson Highlands or boating on the Hudson River.

In 1974 Tom transferred to the Corps of Engineers, a major turning point in his military career. He attended CGSC in 1975 and then took an active role in the Army’s environmental management program, serving at TRADOC, USAREUR, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and rising finally to chief of the Army’s Environmental Office.

After retiring in the rank of colonel in 1986, Tom continued pursuing his interest in Army-related environmental challenges. He navigated the civilian transition by joining several large engineering firms, which finally led him to Tetra Tech in Fairfax, VA, and as vice president of that company he contributed to the Joint Stewardship Working Group. He also taught courses at Duke University and West Point. His lessons focused on the National Environmental Policy Act, which aims to ensure that all branches of government consider environmental impacts when planning construction and other engineering projects. Additionally, he assisted National Guard units in the preparation of environmental assessments.

Tom became widely regarded for his expertise and engineering acumen. He was a registered Professional Engineer and was awarded the de Fleury Medal in 2004, which recognized his lifetime of service to the Corps of Engineers.

Tom’s interest in environmental protection and conservation went well beyond his professional occupation and was reflected by his membership and service to many organizations, such as the Society of American Military Engineers and the National Defense Industrial Association. And he became involved in very specific wildlife protection projects: namely, the endangered blue butterfly in New Hampshire and the red-cockaded woodpecker in South Carolina.

Consonant with his entire life, he joined Christians in Commerce and was an active member of the USMA Class of ’61 organization of northern Virginia. Over the course of his life he pursued numerous interests, including scuba, antique bottle collecting, hunting, fishing and writing numerous articles for publication. In 2012, Dhana and family chose to honor Tom’s legacy and strengthen the Long Gray Line through the “12th Annual West Point Memorial Class Ring Melt.” During the ceremony, Tom’s ’61 (“Second to None”) class ring was added to the gold from 41 other alumni donors to form a single gold bar. This bar was then used in the gold to make West Point rings for the Class of 2013.