Tom Lynch was born on December 9, 1916, in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. He was commissioned a 2Lt in the Army Air Corps on June 12, 1940, and was awarded his pilot wings on February 7, 1941. Lynch was assigned to the 39th Fighter Squadron of the 35th Fighter Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan, on February 17, 1941, and went with the squadron to Brisbane, Australia, in January 1942. He began flying combat missions in P-39 Airacobra fighters out of Port Moresby, New Guinea, in May 1942, and switched to flying P-38 Lightnings in June 1942. Capt Lynch became the Commander of the 39th Fighter Squadron in March 1943, and was credited with destroying 16 enemy aircraft in aerial combat before he was injured bailing out of his aircraft in September 1943. He returned to combat with the 5th Fighter Command in December 1943, and shot down another 3 enemy aircraft before being killed in action on March 8, 1944. Thomas Lynch shot down a total of 20 enemy aircraft during World War II.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
THOMAS J. LYNCH (O388066), Captain, 39th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, Air Corps, United States Army. For extraordinary heroism in action near Buna, New Guinea, on December 27, 1942. Captain Lynch was leading a patrol flight of four P-38 planes when a formation of eight to ten enemy dive-bombers accompanied by fifteen to twenty fighter aircraft approached. The pilots of his flight were inexperienced and the P-38 as yet untried in combat in this area. Despite the odds, Captain Lynch led his flight in a determined attack. He succeeded in breaking the enemy formation and in preventing the enemy dive-bombers from reaching their objective. He shot down two planes, while others in his flight accounted for five. Because of Captain Lynch's daring and effective attack, other flights of our aircraft in the vicinity were enabled to attack the scattered enemy, and to shoot down six more and damage another. This engagement greatly heightened the combat spirit of Captain Lynch's squadron.