PROFILE OF A
Gentile was born August 7, 1937 in San Francisco, CA. His parents, Lawrence E. and Mildred were a
navy family who soon found that their son got seasick just watching a bar of
Ivory soap in his bath water. After
bouncing around West Coast ports for several years, the family settled in
Fresno, California while dad was out to sea.
Tommy also had three siblings.
A sister, Gayle and two brothers, Stanley and Timothy.
enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1955, shortly before his graduation. Upon
graduation from Washington Union High School, he reported to MCRD for basic
training, then was assigned to 29 Palms for advanced
training. In August 1956, the Marine
Corps released 600 men from the 29 Palms base as excess, with Tommy being one
than forty-eight hours after his release, Tommy enlisted in the Air Force.
During his tour of duty, he was stationed in 9 countries for the Strategic
Air and Tactical Commands. Those stations included Korea, Japan, Philippines,
Vietnam, Taiwan, India, Italy, Greece, and Germany. Upon receiving a Bachelor
of Science Degree in Political Science in 1962, Tommy was released from the
Air Force to pursue his Masters Degree. He graduated with an International Studies
Degree in 1964, in Heidleburg, Germany.
met his future wife, Carolyn in September of 1962, and they were married
shortly thereafter in Coalinga, California on December 22, 1962. Tommy and Carolyn have three children,
David, Robert and Michael, and three grandchildren, Audrey, Karris and Devon.
November 1962, Tommy was recalled to service and ordered to report to Fort Ord, California. This time he was in the U.S. Army. Entering service on November 4, 1962, which
began the final stint of his military career. Tommy has attended thirty-four
various military schools across the nation during his career, including the
Sergeants Major Academy. Tommy received the Meritorious Service Medal for his
part as an advisor for the U.S. Army Helicopter Repair Department in
Fresno. He was also instrumental in
developing an air defense program utilizing shared integrated systems. Tommy’s medal decorations include the
Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Defense Service, Air Force Good Conduct,
Presidential Unit Citation, Army Outstanding Unit, Air Force Outstanding
Unit, Army Commendation Ribbon, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Vietnam Service
w/device, Vietnam Campaign w/5-Stars, Army Overseas, and Air Force Overseas
ribbons. He served a total of 42 years
in the military and retired with the rank of Sergeant Major in May 1996.
his military retirement, Tommy has worked as a retail clerk at Orchard
Hardware, as an electronic quality inspector for Graybar Corporation and as a
logistics and security manager for the U.S. Commerce Department. Tommy works tirelessly within the veteran’s
family support system, ensuring they and their families receive what is due
and available to them. He has taken it
upon himself to provide military honors for many of our deceased
veterans. Tommy has been the “Voice of
the Parade” for the Fresno Veterans Day Parade the past three years and
continues to be instrumental in the success of the parade. Since early 2003, Tommy has been on the
staff of the Legion of Valor Museum, and continues to serve as an educational
coordinator, working with all levels of education. Of all of Tommy’s endeavors, he considers
his role of grandfather, as his most rewarding accomplishment.