Brigadier General Thomas M. Knoles, a command pilot in the United States Air Force, was born in 1927 in Flagstaff, Arizona, and graduated from Flagstaff High School in 1945. He attended the University of Arizona prior to enlisting in the Army Air Forces in March 1946. He received his commission as a second lieutenant and his pilot wings through the aviation cadet program in June 1948. He graduated from the Air Tactical School in 1950 and the Air War College in 1967.
In June 1971, Brigadier General Knoles was assigned as Commander of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing with headquarters at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. A year later, he led the wing when it was deployed to Thailand to participate in the final stages of the United States involvement in Southeast Asia and support for Operation Linebacker in December 1972.
Brigadier General Knoles retired from the Air Force in 1976 with 30 years of commendable service. His military decorations and awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation.