Thomas Oakes graduated from Amsterdam High School in 1962 and continued his education at RIT College, graduating in 1967. Upon entering the Army in 1968, he received training in Fort Dix, NJ and from there went to officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, GA. Here Tom was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the infantry. Soon after, he was sent to Vietnam and was assigned as platoon leader in C Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. He was then promoted to First Lieutenant and assigned as XO of Headquarters in C Company, 1st Battalion. 7th Cavalry. For Tom's service in Vietnam, he was awarded a Combat Infantry Badge, an Air Medal for more than 25 aerial missions over hostile territory, a Bronze Star medal for Meritorious Achievement in ground operations against hostile forces. He also received another Bronze Star medal for Heroism in ground combat. Tom returned from Vietnam to his hometown where he worked and happily raised his family with his wife Darlene.