Tom is a native of South Boston, MA and was educated in area Catholic schools. Joining the Navy in 1968 he served four years on active duty including a one year deployment to South Vietnam during which he was a combat advisor to the South Vietnamese Navy. Additionally, Tom served on three different type ships. Leaving active duty as a Petty Officer 2nd Class in 1972, Tom pursued his degree at Boston State College and the University Of Massachusetts at Boston, graduating with a degree in Political Science and a minor in History, in 1981.
He joined the Navy Reserve in 1985 and served in various units and ships. In 1992 he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer and a year later he received a commission in the Navy Reserve and was promoted to Ensign. In October 1998 Tom, now a Lieutenant was assigned as Executive Officer, Inshore Boat Unit 22, New Haven, CT. In the wake of the bombing of USS COLE (DDG-67), IBU 22 was recalled to active duty in June 2001 under a Presidential recall to conduct force protection and anti-terrorism operations in the Persian Gulf. This was the first of what would be multiple recalls to active duty in the coming years. In October 2001 Tom assumed duties as Commanding Officer, Inshore Boat Unit 22. During the unit’s deployment to the Persian Gulf, December 2002 through September 2003, Tom, as a Lt. Commander, also served as Commander, Task Group 53.8 and the Commander, Task Force 53 Force Protection Officer for the United Arab Emirates.