Marine Corps Veteran Thomas Zayas is today's Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Thomas Zayas, who received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal during the Korean War.

Thomas Zayas was born in Fresno, California in 1931. He grew in rural Clarksville, California, and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951. He then went to Marine Corps basic training in San Diego, California. After completing basic training, he went to Camp Pendleton, California, for Advanced Infantry Training. After, he shipped to Korea at 19 years old. He served with Fox Company, 1st Marines as a machine gunner.

Zayas served one year in Korea. During his time, his unit lead infantry assaults on the various hills containing Korean forces. In one of the assaults during the Battle of the Punchbowl, Zayas and his squad leader set up a machine gun and knocked out two enemy machine guns to allow his platoon to retreat from heavy enemy fire. For his service, he was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal. The Battle of the Punchbowl was dramatized in a Netflix series called The Medal of Honor.

The Marine Corps honorably discharged Zayas in 1960 as a staff sergeant. After his service in the Marine Corps, he lived in Sacramento, California. His nickname was “The Dancing Man” due to his love for dancing and involvement in the Sacramento dance community.

Zayas passed away on Nov. 18, 2018, in Sacramento, California. Four children, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren survived him.

More of his story is at

We honor his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at


Editor: Michelle Cannon

Fact checker: Tavia Wager

Graphic artist: Sarah Kowalewski

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Published on Nov. 17, 2019

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 170


  1. Teresa May Robinson November 21, 2019 at 11:37 am

    Hello, thank you for your service.
    My youngest brother recently died of a service connected disability. He is survived by his 2 daughters ages 11 & 14. One of my other brothers & his wife have adopted them into their family (they already had 2 daughters so it has doubled the size of their family) Would they be able to Access these Commisary /PX, etc privledges?
    I am also a disabled Veteran-currently 30% so I would qualify. May my spouse or another person accompany me to assist me with shopping? How do I get them access-do they also need a special ID?
    Please advise.
    Thank you so much!

  2. William Babbitt November 18, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    Congress needs to know how Comerica bank is treating veterans by allowing them to be victimized by fraud and identity theft. I personally had over !12,700 in Veteran disability stolen from my account almost 2 years ago and the bank has refused to return my money.

  3. Senior Veterans Care Network November 18, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    We honor the service of Thomas Zayas.

Comments are closed.

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