A couple of days ago, the Tullahoma community celebrated a very special veteran’s birthday. Army Ranger Lieutenant Tommy Gwynn was turning 100 years old! But that’s not all, he also served in both World War II and the Korean War, and was a two-time Prisoner of War, who managed to escape both times.
Gwynn revealed that his birthday this year is much different from 1944 when he was heading into Normandy for what we now remember as D-Day.
The veteran still gets nightmares from what he did during D-Day, but he can’t tell anyone as it was classified. Gwynn says he was in the sixth wave, and when he got off the boat, he prayed for Jesus to walk with him. He said he prayed three times and on the third, he heard Jesus tell him, “No, you walk with me.”
Fortunately, he survived D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. While in Normandy, he received a Battle Field Commission to Second Lieutenant, one of the highest honors.
Later, Tommy Gwynn was called back to help fight in the Korean War. He was captured twice while in Korea. He was going to be hung by his belt the second time but was lucky enough to escape.
Gwynn was wounded at least 24 times during both wars. He’s received more than 40 awards including 12 Purple Hearts. Sadly, he lost all his awards in a house fire in 2013 but has been able to replace some of them.
The 100-year-old lives alone and just had his driver’s license renewed. His wife passed away 10 years ago, while his daughter lives in a nursing home. He leans on the support of a friend, Rob Norman, who met Gwynn while working at a local bank.
When he is free, Gwynn enjoys going grocery shopping and then donates food to those in need in his neighborhood.
Tommy Gwynn attends First Baptist Church in Tullahoma. The church organized a party to celebrate his 100th birthday. Gwynn enjoys telling jokes and stories with members, even though he can be hard to understand as he was born with half a tongue and now has no teeth.
When asked how he survived so much, Gwynn quotes the bible verse, John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Gwynn said.