Michael E. Thornton
U.S. Navy Seals
Michael E. Thornton, a native of South Carolina,
enlisted in the United States Navy in 1967.
He entered basic training at the Naval Training
Center, San Diego, California.
Subsequently, he was selected for specialized
training in Basic Underwater Demolition training
in Coronado, California and the Navy's elite
Upon successful completion of training, he
was assigned to SEAL team ONE based in Coronado,
California from 1968-1974. During the period
of October 1968 to January 1973, he completed
several tours of duty in the Republic of Vietnam
During this time, he was the recipient of numerous
awards. His most prestigious decoration was
bestowed for heroic actions on his last tour
of duty in Vietnam which resulted in saving
the life of a fellow SEAL. For this action during
a reconnaissance and intelligence gathering
mission, he received this Nation's highest award,
the CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR.
From 1974 to 1977 he served as an instructor
at the SEAL training command in Coronado, California.
In 1977 he transferred to SEAL team TWO in Little
Creek, Virginia where he was the senior enlisted
(man) in an operational platoon and also served
as an instructor for SEAL Basic Indoctrination.
In 1978 he deployed to the United Kingdom to
serve two years with the Royal Marine British
Special Boat Squadron in an exchange billet.
Upon completion of his successful tour with
the British, he returned to help establish and
operate with SEAL Team SIX. Here he was instrumental
in developing new and innovative operational
techniques and hardware that formed the foundation
for future unique special operations missions.
In June 1982, Lieutenant Thornton received
his commission as a United States Navy Ensign.
He completed Basic Officer Diving and Salvage
Training and immediately thereafter was assigned
as the Officer-in-Charge of the Second Class
Dive School at the Little Creek Amphibious Base
in Norfolk, Virginia. In January 1986, he reported
to the USS Edenton (ATS-1) as the First Lieutenant
and Diving and Salvage Officer for Combat Support
Squadron Eight, at Little Creek. In April 1990,
Lieutenant Thornton reported as Bravo Company
Commander where he coordinated a rapid response
deployment in support of DESERT SHEILD/ DESERT