Tom Blais was born on April 13, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 11, 1947, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in August 1947. His first assignment was with the U.S. Navy Barracks in Washington, D.C., from September 1947 to December 1948, and then with Underwater Demolition Team TWO (UDT-2) at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from December 1948 to March 1949. Petty Officer Blais attended Underwater Demolition Team Replacement training with Class 04 at NAB Little Creek from March to May 1949, and then served with UDT-4 at NAB Little Creek from May to July 1949. He again served with UDT-2 at NAB Little Creek from July 1949 to September 1952, followed by service at NTC Great Lakes from September 1952 to September 1955. His next assignment was with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FOUR (NMCB-4) at Davisville, Rhode Island, from September 1955 to March 1956, and he again attended Underwater Demolition Team Replacement training, this time with Class 16, at NAB Little Creek, from March to May 1956. Petty Officer Blais served with UDT-21 at NAB Little Creek from June 1956 to December 1962, and then with UDT-22 at Little Creek from December 1962 to March 1963. His next assignment was as Head Instructor of Underwater Demolition Team Replacement training at NAB Little Creek from March 1963 to February 1968, followed by service with SEAL Team TWO at NAB Little Creek from February 1968 to November 1973. During this time, Master Chief Blais deployed to Southeast Asia with his Team from December 1969 to June 1970. His final assignment was with Naval Inshore Warfare Command, Atlantic, at NAB Little Creek from November 1973 until his retirement from the Navy on December 31, 1974. Tom Blais died on July 6, 2014, and was buried at Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia. Tom was married to Florence Del Rosso Blais from 1952 until her death on November 6, 1997. Their son, LCDR Rock Edward Blais, was also a Navy SEAL, and died after being injured in a parachute jump on August 30, 2001.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam from December 1969 to June 1970. While serving as assistant squad leader with United States Navy SEAL Team Two, Detachment Alfa, Fourth Platoon, Senior Chief BLAIS participated in forty-five combat operations in enemy dominated areas of the Mekong Delta. He planned, organized and directed several squad sized operations against the enemy. His courage under fire, aggressiveness and leadership ability significantly contributed to the success of those operations. On 23 February 1970, he was a member of a SEAL patrol reacting to intelligence on heavy enemy movement in Long An province. After patrolling approximately three hundred meters through a heavily booby trapped area, his squad encountered and took under fire an enemy sampan with four Viet Cong aboard. At that moment, Senior Chief BLAIS alertly detected further enemy movement near his flank position and took that movement under fire. In the ensuing search of the area, a Vietnamese SEAL was wounded twice by enemy fire. Even though the wounded man was completely exposed by flares in an open rice paddy, Senior Chief BLAIS immediately rushed to his side to administer first aid. HIs exemplary professionalism, courage under fire and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.