Private First Class Richard D. Thomas was born on 5 June 1919 to a Mennonite family in Somerset County Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 1941 and was assigned to the 91st Bomber Squadron and sent to the Philippines. He was captured in Bataan following the American surrender on 9 April 1942, and died of malaria, dysentery, and malnutrition on October 8, 1942, at the Cabanatuan Prison Camp in Nueva Ecija Province. He was buried in communal grave 515 in the camp cemetery along with other six other deceased American POWs. After the war his remains were identified and sent home for burial. Due to the poorly kept grave records and exhumation of the graves, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has requested his living descendants be located to provide a Family Reference Sample (DNA) due to commingling of his remains with the other POWs. US POW/MIA Family Locating has identified his niece for a Family Reference Sample.