Honoring the Military who Honor Nature

Thomas Fouke, Jr., United States Navy

Lieutenant Thomas Fouke was a Navy Information Warfare Officer and native of St. Louis. He collapsed and died in a training exercise in January 2012. His family set up a memorial in his name through which donations were made to The Nature Conservancy.

Tommy Fouke commissioned in the U.S. Navy in May 2006 after graduating cum laude from the University of Florida where he majored in Environmental Science.

After his initial training in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program, Fouke served at the Navy Information Operations Command in Misawa, Japan from July 2006-October 2009. He then transferred to the Navy Operations Command in Bahrain, after which he reported to the East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare Unit in June 2011. In January 2012, Tommy collapsed and died in a training exercise on base.

Tommy Fouke was an accomplished naval officer with a promising career in the making. He was the recipient of the Navy’s Air Medal, The Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Navy Marksmanship Medals for both rifle and pistol.

The following is written by Thomas's mother, Linda Fouke.

Tommy was curious about all things in his natural environment from the time he could toddle. When curious about some crawling critter he would take my hand, tug it down closer to the creature and poke my index finger at it to test if it would scuttle away, bite or sting!

The years he and his brother spent growing up on a Caribbean island undoubtedly shaped his explorer’s spirit and passion for learning all he could about the natural world. Chasing iguanas, catching hermit crabs, observing bats close up under the rafters, and feeding hummingbirds, toucans and macaws – all this in a day. But his keenest interest was found in the sea. He learned to snorkel when he was three years old and scuba dive at seven with a specially built tank and regulator. The same curiosity on land transferred easily to the underwater realm. He studied every page of Paul Humans’ Reef Fish and Creature guide books by the time he was six and could name hundreds of them on his own.

His interest in the environment continued as he grew. He saw a need for more people to understand ecosystems and an even greater need to protect them. Even before he had a steady income from the Navy he began to contribute to causes he felt strongly about, including The Nature Conservancy.

Tommy had a deep appreciation and reverence for the outdoors and loved traveling the world on trips where hiking, camping, biking and diving were part of the journeys.

His untimely death reminds us how fragile life is and how important it is to live each day to the fullest. He wanted to make a difference in his mission as a naval officer and as a citizen of the world. That contributions to The Nature Conservancy have been made in his name is an honor that would be pleasing to him.

The views expressed above are those of the individual, and do not constitute an official policy statement of the Department of Defense.


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