US Army, VA made significant contributions: Veteran Cyril ‘Scorcher’ Thomas

Cyril "Scorcher" N. Thomas sings "The Legend of Soca" during "Winter Wonderland", at the Golden Hall, in December 2017, at St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church on Hawthorne Street in Brooklyn .The event was organized by the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Nurses Association of New York.
Cyril “Scorcher” N. Thomas sings “The Legend of Soca” during “Winter Wonderland”, at the Golden Hall, in December 2017, at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church on Hawthorne Street in Brooklyn .The event was organized by the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Nurses Association of New York.
Photo by Nelson A. King

Cyril “Scorcher” N. Thomas, a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines deputy consul general in New York and cultural ambassador, who served in the Vietnam War, says the US Army and the Veterans Administration (VA) have made significant contributions to him and his family “in a very positive way.”
“I am proud to call myself a veteran, and I pray every day for my fallen brothers and sisters,” Thomas, a retired public school teacher in Brooklyn, who spent 11 months in Vietnam, serving from July 26, 1969 to July 25, 1971, told Caribbean Life on Monday.
Thomas, also a renowned Vincentian calypsonian, said, while in Vietnam, he spent six months with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Long Binh and five months with the 25th Division in Cuchi.
He said he hopes the names of veterans and their service will “never be forgotten.
“Long live America, long live all veterans!” proclaimed Thomas, who ended his term of service with the rank of Specialist. His Military Occupations Specialty (MOS) was 11 Bravo, commonly called “11 Bang Bang” in the Army.
While in Vietnam, Thomas said he received the National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Combat Infantry Badge; Army Commendation Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device; Bronze Star Medal; Sharpshooter Badge Rifle M16; and the Good Conduct Medal.
On returning to the U.S., Thomas said he ended his term of service at the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Meade, MD.

Cyril "Scorcher" N. Thomas in military dress, in December 1970, with his mom, Emily Thomas, a month after returning from Vietnam.
Cyril “Scorcher” N. Thomas in military dress, in December 1970, with his mom, Emily Thomas, a month after returning from Vietnam. Photo by McInnis Thomas

Afterwards, he matriculated at Brooklyn College, taking advantage of the G.I. Bill and earning Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees of Arts in political science.
While in college, Thomas said the VA “got me a job” in the U.S. Postal Service.
After graduating from Brooklyn College, Thomas said took extra credits in education and served as a high school teacher for 18 years.
Thomas said he also received an advanced certificate in educational administration and supervision from Brooklyn College, and a permanent certificate from the State of New York in school district administration and supervision.
Before migrating to New York, Thomas said he represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ national football (soccer) team as a goal keeper from 1967 – 1968.
He was also Varsity goalkeeper (soccer) at Brooklyn College, Division 111 champions in 1972.
In addition, Thomas said he was the All-Star Goalkeeper in the Brooklyn League in 1974.
Thomas said he started singing calypsos in public 1973, when “a great Vincentian nationalist,” Mary Neverson-Morris, gave him his first opportunity to perform before a live audience, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, during her annual St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cultural Extravaganza.
He said some of his “preferred” hits include: “Party Fever,” “The Legend of Soca,” “Cultural Resistance,” “The Pipelayer,” “Sweetness Is My Weakness,” “We Still In Slavery,” “Don One,” “No Rain Could Stop The Carnival,” “Scorcher Don’t Go,” “Fork Up The Beaches,” and “We Only Dancin’.”
Others are: “Let The Music Play,” “Wake Up The Party,” “Bring Back The Gallows,” “Revolutionary Man,” “The Rocking Of The Ocean,” “Shake Up Your Thickness,” “Fowl Thief,” “The Hoper,” “I Took The Blows,” “The Phantom DJ,” “I Am A Darkie,” “Public Enemy No.1,” “Get Your Assets Out,” and Tonight, Tonight.”
Thomas served as deputy consul general, under Consul General Cosmus Cozier, from Oct.1, 2001 to May 31, 2011.
He was appointed cultural ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, on Nov. 23, 2014.

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