He was born on November 27, 1915 in Panama City, Panama. He married Phyllis of Boise, Idaho and had 5 children. He studied journalism at Stanford University and graduated in January 1941.
He completed his pilot training at Stockton Army Air Field, California on October 30, 1941, and was assigned to the 70th Pursuit Squadron, 35th Pursuit Group at Hamilton Field in Novato, California. Until December 1942 he served in Fiji then his squadron was moved to Guadalcanal and he joined the 347th Fighter Group. He scored his first aerial victory on Christmas Eve in 1942 when he shot down an A6M Zero. Lanphier was promoted to captain in March 1943. The next month he destroyed three A6M Zeros over Cape Esperance on April 7, 1943. By the end of his tour, he flew 97 combat missions out of Guadalcanal in P-39s and P-38s.
Following World War II, he was one of the founding members of the Idaho Air National Guard, eventually retiring as a Colonel.
During World War II, Colonel Lanphier was credited with downing nine Japanese planes, damaging eight on the ground, and sinking a destroyer. He received the Navy Cross, Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.
We honor you, Thomas Lanphier Jr.